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THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/churchesofaberdeOOgamm 



Churches of Aberdeen 

historical and Descriptive 



BY 



ALEXANDER GAMMIE 




ABERDEEN 
ABERDEEN DAILY JOURNAL OFFICE 

1909 



THE LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH 



PREFACE 



THE publication of this work has been undertaken in response to 
numerous and repeated requests. The substance of it appeared 
originally in a series of articles in the Evening Express from 1904 to 
1906, but much additional information has been included, and the matter 
has been revised to the present date and largely recast. While the chapters 
are therefore to a considerable extent different from what appeared in the 
Press, it has been deemed advisable to adhere — even at the risk of some 
repetition — to the idea originally in view of making each separate chapter 
or history complete in itself. 

It is hoped that the volume may meet with acceptance from the wide 
circle, both at home and abroad, who have expressed the wish for its appear- 
ance, and that it may be found to fill a useful place, hitherto unoccupied in 
the ecclesiastical annals of Aberdeen, by supplying a record of the origin 
and history of each individual congregation and sect in the city. 

I have to express my best thanks to Mr. Robert Anderson, Editor, 
Aberdeen Daily Journal, who kindly revised the proofs, and helped with his 
counsel in various ways ; and to Mr. James B. Thomson, Sub-Librarian, 
Aberdeen Public Library, for preparing the Index and otherwise giving 
assistance. For the use of blocks and photographs I am indebted to 
a large number of friends, whose names are too numerous for individual 
mention, but whose kindness I gladly acknowledge. My thanks are likewise 
due to Mr. James A. C. Coutts, Manager, Aberdeen Daily Journal, for helpful 
services rendered in connection with the production of the volume. 

A. G. 

Aberdeen, Christmas, 1909. 



CON T E N T S 



CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. 



Chapter 






l'agc 


I. 


Cathedra] of 


Oldniuohar ... 


1 


11. 


C'raigiebuekk 


sr 




7 


III. 


East 






. 10 


IV. 


Ferryhill 






15 


V. 


Gilcomstoii 






17 


VI. 


Grey friare 






21 


VII. 


Hoi burn 






28 


VIII. 


John Knox 






32 


IX. 


Mannofield 






36 


X. 


North 






39 


XI. 


Powis 






42 


XII. 


Rosemount 






45 


XIII. 


Rubislau 






49 


XIV. 


Ruthrioston 






52 


XV. 


St. L'lemenl't 






56 


XVI. 


St. Fittick's 


[Chapel of Ease) 


59 


XVII. 
KVIII. 


St. Georgc's- 

St. Ninian's 


in-the 


-West ... 


62 
65 


XIX. 


South ... 






69 


XX. 


Trinity 






73 


XXI. 


West 






76 


XXII. 


Woodside 






81 



UNITED FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. 



XXIII. 


Beechgrove 


XXIV. 


Belmont Street 


XXV. 


Bon- Accord 


XX vt. 


Carden Place 


XXVII. 


C'ausewayend 


XXVIII. 


Charlotte Street 


XXIX. 


East 


XXX. 


Ferryhill ... 


XXXI. 


Callow gate ... 


XXXII. 


Gilcomston 


XXXIII. 


Grey friars ... 


XXXIV. 


High 


XXXV. 


Hilton 


XXXVI. 


Holburn 


XXXVII. 


John Knox 


4XXVIII. 


Melville 


XXXIX. 


Nelson Street 


XL. 


North 


XLI 


Oldmachar 


XLII. 


Queen's Cross 



85 
88 
92 
97 
101 
104 
108 
116 
122 
126 
130 
134 
139 
143 
146 
149 
154 
157 
162 
167 



Chapter 






I'jgv 


XIJII. Rutherford 


171 


XLIV. Ruthrieston 






.. 176 


XLV. St. Andrew's 






.. 179 


XLVI. St. Clement's 






.. 183 


XL VII. St. Columba 






.. 187 


XLVIII. St. John's 






.. 194 


XI. IX. St. Nicholas 






.. 197 


L. St. Paul's 






.. 202 


LI. South 






.. 207 


HI. Torry 






.. 211 


UII. Trinity 






215 


LIV. Union 






.. 222 


LV. We,t 






.. 227 


LVI. Aberdeen United Free Church 


College 






.. 231 



CONGREGATIONAL CH URCHES. 



I. VII. 

LVIII. 

LIX. 

I.X. 

I.XI. 

LXII. 

LXI1I. 

LXIV. 



Albion Street 
Belmont 

Bon-Accord ... 
John Street ... 
St. Paul Street 
Skene Street 
Trinity 
Woodside 



BAPTIST CHUKCHES. 



l.XV. Academy Street 
I. XVI. Crown Terrace 
LXVII. Gilcouiston Park 
LXVIII. Union Grove 



238 
242 
246 
249 
252 
257 
261 
265 



268 
271 
276 
279 



LTISCUPAL CHURCH IN SCOTLAND. 



LXIX. St. 

LXX. St. 

LXXI. St. 

LXXII. St. 

i. xxni. st. 

LXX IV. St. 

LXXV. St. 

LXXVI. St. 

LXXVII. St. 



Andrew's 

Clement's Mission 

James's 

John's 

Margaret's 

Mary's 

Paul's 

Peter's Mission 

Mark's Mission 



282 
287 
290 
294 
298 
302 
306 
309 
311 



Vlll. 



CONTENTS 



ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES. 
Chapter Page 

LXXVIII. St. Mary's Cathedral ... 312 

LXXIX. St. Peter's 318 

LXXX. St. Joseph's 322 



VARIOUS. 

LXXXI. Wesleyan Methodist Church 325 

LXXXII. Christian Unitarian Church 328 

LXXXIII. Original Secession Church... 335 

LXXXI V. Catholic Apostolic Church... 339 

LXXXV. The Society of Friends (or 

The Quakers) 341 



Chapter 

LXXXVI. 

LXXXVII. 

LXXXVIII. 

LXXXIX. 

XC. 
XCI. 

XCII. 

xcni. 

XCIV. 
XCV. 



Church of Christ 

The Salvation Army 

The Plymouth Brethren 

(open section) 
The Plymouth Brethren 

(exclusive or close section) 
Gordon Evangelistic Mission 
The Aberdeen Young Men's 

Christian Association 
The Christadelphians 
Free Church of Scotland 
The Jewish Synagogue 
Some Forgotten Sects 



Page 
348 
350 

355 

359 
361 

363 

371 
374 
375 
376 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Page 

Oldmaohar Cathedral 1 

Rev. Dr. Calder 3 

Rev. Thomas S. Oargill 5 

Craigiebuckler Parish Church 7 

Rev. J. N. Cuthbert, B.D 8 

East Parish Church 10 

Principal Lang 12 

Rev. George Walker, B.D 13 

Ferryhill Parish Church 15 

Rev. Henry W. Wright 16 

Gilcomston Parish Church 17 

Rev. Dr. Kidd 18 

Rev. William Brebner, M.A 20 

Old Greyfriars Parish Church 21 

Greyfriars Parish Church 25 

Rev. Gordon J. Murray, B.D 26 

Interior, Old Greyfriars Parish Church ,.. 27 

Ilolburn Parish Church 28 

Rev. Dr. M'CJymont 29 

John Knox Parish Church 32 

Rev. Duncan H. Brodie, B.D 34 

Rev. George A. Johnston, B.D 35 

Mannofield Parish Church 36 

Rev. William Forbes, M.A 37 

Rev. W. Phin GiUieson, M.A 37 

North Parish Church 39 

Rev. William M. Wilson 40 

Powis Parish Church 42 

Rev. Thomas D. Watt, M.A 43 

Rosemount Parish Church 45 

Rev. Thomas Wilson, B.D 47 

Rubislaw Parish Church 49 

Rev. Robert Thomson, M.A., D.D. ... 51 

Ruthrieston Parish Church 52 

Rev. J. Morrison M'Luckie 53 

Rev. J. Marshall Pryde, B.D 54 

St. Clement's Parish Church 56 

Rev. Dr. C. C. Macdonald 58 

St. Fittick's Church (Chapel of Ease) ... 59 

Rev. Archibald Macintyre. M.A 60 

Rev. Augustus J. Resting, B.D 61 

St. George's-in-the-West Parish Church. .. 62 

Rev. James Smith, B.D 63 

St. Ninian's Parish Church 65 

Rev. Maxwell J. Wright, M.A 67 

South Parish Church 69 

Rev. William D. Scott, B.D 71 

Rev. Guy S. Peebles, B.D. 72 

Trinity Parish Church 73 



Page 

Rev. Robert Slessor 74 

Rev. W. Bruce Muir 74 

East and West Parish Churches 76 

Rev. Andrew Brown, M.A 78 

Rev. A. Stuart Martin, B.D 79 

Woodside Parish Church 81 

Rev. David P. M'Lees 83 

Rev. John Fairlie 83 

Beechgrove U.F. Church 85 

Professor H. R. Mackintosh 86 

Rev. Frederick J. Rae, M.A 87 

Belmont Street U.F. Church 88 

Rev. Dr. David Beatt 90 

Bon- Accord U.F. Church 92 

Old Free Bon-Accord Church 93 

Rev. Hector M. Adam, B.D 94 

Rev. J. Bonnar Russell. B.D 95 

Mr. William Robbie 95 

Garden Place U.F. Church 97 

Rev. Archibald Young, M.A 99 

Rev. Thomas P. Rankine. M.A 100 

f'ausewayend U.F. Church 101 

Rev. James A. Russell, M.A. 103 

Charlotte Street U.F. Church ... 104 

Rev. James W. Jackson 106 

East U.F. Church 108 

Professor Candlish Ill 

Principal Lumsden 112 

Rev. G. H. C. Macgregor, M.A 113 

Rev. Charles H. Todd, M.A 114 

Mr. Donald Reid, Precentor 115 

Ferryhill U.F. Church 116 

Principal Iverach 117 

Professor Kilpatrick 118 

Rev. R, Bruce Taylor, M.A 119 

Rev. John W. Coutts, M.A 120 

Gnllowgate U.F. Church 122 

Old Free Gallowgate Church 123 

Rev. James Goodall 124 

Rev. John Livingstone ... 125 

Gilcomston U.F. Church 126 

Old Free Gilcomston Church, Huntly St. 127 

Rev. Robert Forgan, B.D 128 

Greyfriars U.F. Church 130 

Old Free Greyfriars Church, Crown Street 131 

Rev. William Smith 132 

High U.F. Church 134 

Rev. Henry W. Bell, M.A 137 

Rev. D. M, Munrp 138 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Hilton U.F. Church 

Row Alexander F. Moir, M.A. 
Rev. Andrew Dickson 
Holburn U.F. Church 
Rev. Andrew M'Queon, B.D. 



Old Free Holburn Church, Bon-Accord Ter. 145 



John Knox U.F. Church 

Old Free John Knox Church 

Rev. Robert Macleod 

Melville U.F. Church 

First Melvilie Church. Weigh-house Sq. 
Second Melville Church, Correction Wynr 
Rev. James Muir, M.A. 
Xelson Street U.F. Church ... 
Rev. Archibald Campbell 

Xorth U.F. Church 

Rev. Dr. John Murray 
Rev. George Campbell 
Rev. George D. Low, M.A. ... 
Rev. F. Renton Barry 
Rev. James S. Stewart 
Old Free North Church 
Oldmachar U.F. Church 
Rev. Joseph Shillinglaw, B.D. 
Queen's Cross U.F. Church ... 
Principal George Adam Smith 
Rev. Martin Lewis, B.A. 
Rutherford U.F. Church 
" Laing's Kirkie," Northfield 
Rev. John D. MacGilp, M.A. 
Rev. Donald M'Farlan, M.A. 
Ruthrieston U.F. Church ... 

Rev. Robert Semple 

St. Andrew's U.F. Church ... 
Mariners' Church, Commerce Street 

Rev. Dr. Longmuir 

Rev. A. Murray Scott, M.A. 
St. Clement's U.F. Church ... 
Old Free St. Clement's Church 
Rev. A. D. Donaldson. M.A. 
St. Columba U.F. Church ... 
Rev. A. F. Campbell ... 
St. John's U.F. Church 

Rev. John Ure, M.A 

St. Nicholas U.F. Church 

Old St. Nicholas Lane U.P. Church 
Rev. Dr. John Robson 

Rev. J. G. Walton, B.D 

Rev. D. Ritchie Key, M.A. ... 

St. Paul's U.F. Church 

Old St. Paul Street U.P. Church .. 

Rev. Andrew Dickie 

Rev. Thomas Simpson 

South U.F. Church 

Rev. W. Mackintosh Maekay, B.D. 
Rev. John A. Irvine, B.A, 



Rage 

139 
140 
141 
143 
144 



146 
147 
148 
149 
150 
151 
152 
154 
156 
157 
157 
158 
158 
159 
160 
161 
162 
165 
167 
168 
169 
171 
172 
174 
175 
176 
177 
179 
179 
180 
181 
183 
184 
185 
187 
192 
194 
195 
197 
198 
199 
200 
201 
202 
203 
204 
206 
207 
209 
210 



Tony U.F. Church 211 

Rev. Edward Brown 213 

II r. Alexander -Murray. M.A 214 

Trinity U.F. Church 215 

Old Trinity Church and Old Trades Hall 216 
Old Trinity Church and Entrance to Old 

Trades Hall ... 216 

Rev. Andrew Doak, M.A 219 

Rev. William Stoddart. M.A 220 

Union U.F. Church ... 222 

Rev. A. M. Bannatyr.e 224 

Rev. Alexander Rodger 225 

Rev. Thomas Havre 226 

West U.P. Church 227 

Rev. George Webster Thomson, D.D. 228 

Rev. J. Esslemont Adams, B.D 229 

Aberdeen United Free Church College 231 

Principal Iverach 232 

Professor Cameron 233 

Professor Stalker 235 

Professor Cairns ... ... ... 236 

Bool Road ... 239 

Rev. R. M. Cairney 240 

Belmont Congregational Church 242 

George Street Congregational Chapel 

("The Loch Kirk") 243 

Rev. Dr. Stark 24A 

Rev. H. A. Ingliv M.A. 245 

Bon-Accord Congregational Church 246 

Rev. James Ross 247 

Rev. Donald Macintosh 24? 

John Street Congregational Church ... 249 

Rev. Dr. Stewart 250 

St. Paul Street Congregational Church ... 252 

Principal Fairbairn ... 254 

Rev. Alexander Brown 255 

Skene Street Congregational Church 257 

Blackfriars Chapel, Black-friar- 258 

Rev. William Kirk. M.A. ... ... 259 

Rev. II. A. Evan=. M.A 260 

Rev. Thomas Richards ... 260 

Trinity Congregational Church . 261 

Rev. Dr. John Duncan 262 

Rev. James Adam ... 264 

Woodside Congregational Church 265 

Rev. G. C. Milne 267 

Academy Street Baptist Church 268 

Crown Terrace Baptist Church 271 

John Street Baptist Church ... 272 

Rev. George S. Mee 273 

Rev. W. S. Chedburn ... 274 

Rev. Forbes Jackson, M.A. 275 

Gilcomston Park Baptist Church ... 276 

Rev. A. Grant Gibb. M.A 278 

Union Grove Baptist Church 279 

Rev. S. G. Woodrow 280 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



XI. 





Page 




Page 


Rev. R. Biroh Hoyle 


.. 281 


The Very Rev. Canon Tochetti ... 


.. 323 


Mr. James Crichton 


.. 281 


Wesleyan Methodist Church 


.. 324 


Right Rev. Rowland Ellis, D.D 


.. 282 


Old Wesleyan Church, LongacTe ... 


.. 325 


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church ... 


.. 283 


Christian Unitarian Church 


.. 328 


Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Lonj 


I- 


Old Unitarian Church. George Street 


.. 330 


acre 


.. 283 


Rev. Alexander Webster 


.. 331 


Dean Danson 


.. 284 


Original Secession Church 


.. 334 


St. Clement's Episcopal Church ... 


.. 287 


Rev. John M'Kay 


.. 335 


Rev. J. R. Cormaok 


.. 288 


Rev. Ebenezer Ritchie 


.. 336 


Rev. R. Walker Watt, M.A 


.. 288 


Rev. Robert F. Stuart, B.A 


.. 336 


St. James's Episcopal Church 


.. 290 


Rev. Robert B. M'Vicar 


.. 337 


Old St. James's Episcopal Church 


. 291 


Mr. Charles Joss 


.. 337 


Rev. C. M. Black, M.A 


.. 292 


Mr. James Youngson ... 


.. 338 


Rev. Angus M. Mackay, B.A 


.. 292 


Catholic Apostolic Church 


.. 339 


Rev. J. T. F. Farquhar, M.A 


.. 293 


Old Catholic Apostolic Church 


.. 340 


St. John's Episcopal Church 


.. 294 


Meeting-House, Crown Street 


.. 341 


Rev. Robert Cruickshank, M.A 


.. 296 


George Fox 


.. 342 


St. Margaret's Episcopal Church ... 


.. 298 


Old Meeting-Hou^e in Gallowgate 


.. 345 


Rev. G. E. W. Holmes, M.A 


.. 300 


Church of Chrisr. Skene Terrace ... 


.. 348 


St. Mary's Episcopal Church 


.. 302 


Salvation Army Citadel 


.. 350 


Rev. F. W. Christie, M.A 


.. 304 


Mr. Donald Ross 


.. 356 


St. Paul's Episcopal Church 


.. 306 


Mr. J. A. Smith 


.. 362 


Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church ... 


.. 307 


The Aberdeen Young Men's Christian A 


B- 


Rev. E. E. Marshall 


.. 308 


sociation 


.. 363 


Rev. G. T. Shettle, L.A 


.. 308 


Mr. Alexander Milne 


.. 364 


St. Peter's Episcopal Mission Church 


.. 309 


Mr. Charles Shirreffs 


.. 366 


Rev. W. Disney Innes 


. 310 


Mr. Gray C. Fraser 


.. 367 


Rev. Henry Burdon, B.A. ... 


.. 311 


Mr. Adam Maitland 


.. 368 


Rt. Rev. Bishop Chisholm 


.. 312 


Mr. J. D. Mackie 


.. 369 


St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral . 


.. 313 


Mr. William Sangster 


.. 369 


Tlie Very Rev. John Sutherland ... 


.. 314 


Mr. John Montgomery 


.. 370 


Monsignor Stopani 


. 315 


Dr. John Thomas 


. 371 


Rev. John C. Meany 


.. 316 


Mr. James Mowat 


.. 372 


St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church 


.. 318 


Free Church of Scotland 


.. 374 


Priest Gordon 


. 319 


Rev. I. Ostroff 


. 375 


Rev. Andrew Grant 


. 321 


Rev. Hugh Hart 


. 377 


St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church . 


.. 322 


Zion Chapel, John Street 


. 377 



Cbe Cburcbes of Aberdeen: 



historical and Descriptive. 



CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. 



CATHEDRAL OF OLDMACHAR. 







Oldmachar Cathedral. 



The venerable Cathedral, which is now 
used as the parish church of Oldmachar, 
has behind it a long and interesting his- 
tory associated with various forms of eccle- 
siastical government. Roman Catholicism. 
Episcopacy, and Presbyterianism have in 
turn held sway within this ancient pile. 
For thirteen hundred years the building 
has been used as a place of worship, and, 
while in its outward aspect it has suffered 
from the transformations of the centuries, 
yet it can claim to have had a continuous 
existence, and it is undeniably rich in tradi- 
tions of the past. 



Machar, the founder of the church, was 

a disciple of Columba, by whom he was 
sent, along with some others, to preach 
the Gospel to the Picts. His mission was 
specially to th<> northern part of the king- 
dom, and it is said that he was directed 
by his master to fix his abode by the banks 
of a river at a spot where the windings of 
the stream resembled a bishop's crozier. 
Following the Don in its course, St. 
Machar (or St. Mochonna) discovered, near 
the mouth of the river at Seaton, a curve 
exactly answering to the instructions given 
him by St. Columba. The bend in the 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Don as it flows to-day along the beautiful 
valley between the Cathedral and Seaton 
House will still impress the observer with 
its resemblance to the head of a pastoral 
staff, and give an air of probability to the 
old tradition. 

It is generally supposed that it was 
about the year 570 when St. Machar settled 
at this spot to which he had been so 
strangely directed. The church which he 
was the means of erecting is likely to have 
been quite a primitive building, constructed 
probably of no more durable materials than 
wattles and clay, or blocks of wood. The 
original structure may have been succeeded 
by others of a similar type, and *< t i 1 1 later 
by some unpretentious example of rude 
masonry. Little is known, however, of the 
church and its history during the long 
period from the sixth to the twelfth cen- 
turies. It is evident that, when the See 
of Aberdeen was founded by Royal Charter 
in the latter half of the twelfth century, 
there was still only a very humble edifice 
on the site chosen by St. Machar. This 
is proved by the fact that steps were soon 
taken to erect a building more in keeping 
with the dignity associated with the seat 
of a Bishopric. In 1333 the edifice then 
existing was burnt by the English in the 
troubled days of King David II. The pre- 
sent cathedral was founded by Bishop 
Alexander Kinninmund II., but he died in 
1381, before the walls had risen to a height 
of more than nine feet. The portion of 
the work carried out by him was in red 
sandstone, and it can still be traced in the 
remains of the transepts. To Bishop 
Henry Leighton, who then succeeded to the 
See, there must be attributed the adoption 
of granite, which has given St. Machar 
Cathedral a distinctive place among the 
cathedrals of the kingdom. During the 
eighteen years of his reign Bishop Leigh- 
ton saw the building considerably advanced, 
and the foundations laid of the tower and 
steeples. Bishop Spens devoted himself to 
furnishing the interior, and then the great 
Bishop Elphinstone, most illustrious of all 
the Aberdeen Bishops, took up the work 
with characteristic energy. During his 
memorable occupancy of the See, he com- 
pleted the great tower of the Cathedral, re- 
built the choir, and, in many other waye 
advanced in a marked degree this impor- 
tant project, although his name may be 
more prominently identified with his great 
work as the founder of King's College. 
Bishop Gavin Dunbar, his successor, com- 
pleted the west front of the Cathedral and 
the two western towers, and he also built 
the south transept, which is still known 



as "Dunbar's Aisle." His great work, 
however, was the erection of the unique 
flat-panelled oak ceiling, with its rows of 
•shields of "kings. prelates, priest6. 
potentates, and peers." At Bishop Dun- 
bar's death, in 1522, the building might be 
considered to have been complete. In its 
various stages the work of its erection and 
furnishing had occupied over 150 years. 
Many men of note had helped to further 
its progress in the generations that had 
passed since the scheme was first under- 
taken, but in its perfect state the noble 
Cathedral must have appeared worthy <»t 
all that had been spent upon it. 

Only forty years elapsed, however, before 
the magnificent pile was almost laid in 
ruins. At the Reformation it suffered 
severely, one act of spoliation taking place 
after another, until only a vestige of it.-* 
former glory remained. The chancel was 
demolished, the lead covering was stripped 
off the roof, and the costly bells, g 
by Bishop Elphinstone, were taken from 
the tower. All the movable booty was 
carried off, and the whole building would 
have been wrecked had it not been for the 
timely arrival of the Earl of Huntlv with 
a large force of armed followers. As it 
was, the lead and bells and other valuable 
plunder were shipped at Aberdeei t«.i 
Holland, but the ship had scarcely left the 
harbour when a violent storm arose, and 
heavily laden with the plunder. the ■ 
sank almost close to Girdleness. Thus, it 
has been .said, did the just judgment <>) 
Heaven tall upon such sacrilegious work. 
Various attempts were made from time 
to time to repair the damage done to the 
building, and also at various times other 
works of destruction were carried out. Dr. 
Guild, the great benefactor of the Aber- 
deen Incorporated Trades, was one <>t the 
leaders in the work of destruction. The 
removal of the High Altar, the demolition 
of the Bishop's house, and other acts <>t 
damage were laid to his charge. William 
Strachan, the Covenanting minister, was 
responsible for the erection of a loft or 
gallery in the building. In his zeal for the 
spiritual interests of the people, Strachan 
called out from the pulpit the names of all 
those who absented themselves from his 
preaching, with the result that the seats 
were insufficient to accommodate his 
crowds of hearers. In view of this, he 
secured the erection of a. gallery, which, i; 
has been said, took away " the stately sight 
and glorious show of the whole body of the 
church." In this connection it may be 
mentioned that early in the present cen- 
tury there were double rows of galler 



ST MACHAR CATHEDRAL, 

Sacramental Cloths. 

In view of the handsome gift made to St 
Machar Cathedral by a lady member, of a 
Communion tablocover of fine Linen edged 
rich lace, the Kev. James Smith, St George s- 
in-the- West Parish Gnurch, informs us that, 
according to the session minute of the 25th July, 
1756 the cathedral at that date possessed many 
handsome Communion vessels and Sacramental 
cloths, among the latter being--; A fine new 
cloth to be used at naptjsms, gifted by tne 
Lady Brucco; two Urge green cloths with 
green laces upon them, and two oid shon 
cloths with fringes, for the Communion table; 
one hue linen tablecloth nine yards long, and 
one coarser ten yards long, for the tables ; two 
equare tablecloths, one Dor nock, the other 
linen; tv.-o Damusk table-nap-kms; two Ohauce 
cloths, point work." £^ */l 



gtf'fy 



Ts Old Aberdeen the announcement of the 

death from wounds of the R*». James Kirk, 

M.C., wQ] be re- 

The Late oeivod wild deep 

Rev. James Kirk, M.C. regret. As 

minister of the 
second charge of Oldmachar, Mr Kirk grained 
tihe hearty pood-will of the whole community by 
his geniality and brotherly feeling. A man of 
broad sympathies and kindly impulses, and 
a highly accomplished musician, Mr Kirk 
! was welcomed everywhere, and he made a host 
of friends. Ho w«3 never happier than when 
getting out on Monday morning on a long walk- 
ing tour, and thero was no more ardent 
mountain-climber in Aberdeen. Of these ex- 
periences be could give a fascinating account, 
and his writings, marked by literary felicity and 
a fine appreciation of the sights and eounds of 
nature, wore widoly and warmly appreciated. 
After his departure for Dunbar, Mr Kirk kept 
in touch with friends in the north who shared 
his passion for mountaineering, and these friends 
will feel to-day that they have lost a comrade 
whose manly spirit well fitted him for the part 
ho played in tiieso latter days. „ ,/ / 



Capt. J. Scott, R.F.A. 

. News has been received of the death in Pake- 
tine, from wound* received in action, of Captain 
Jits. Scot, M.O., R.F.A., youngest ton of tho 
late liov. Dr Scott. Craig, near Montrose. 

The deceased officer, who was an M.A. «jid 
R.D. of St Andrews University, was a minister 
of the Church of Scotland. He bold an assist- 
antehio at Oldmachar, Aberdeen, and afterwards 
in liroughty Ferry Pari„h ahnrdh. lie was for 
some time also a CfmBudar Chaplain at Alex- 




Rev. Melville Oinwiddie. 

1CTROM university to soldiering, and from 
*- soldiering to the ministry I That, in 
brief is the career of Rev. Melville Dinwiddie, 
M.C., D.S.O., O.B.E., the popular minister 
of that well-known old church, St Machar 
' Cathedral. 

It may seem rather extraordinary that u 
man who has once turned his hand to 
soldiering, and has had experience of the 
grim side of army life should, all of a 
sudden, abandon it and enter the ministry. 
But, Mr Dinwiddie holds, there are few 
better training grounds for a man who feels, 
as he felt, that his life should be devoted 
to the Church, and certainly no better place 
for getting proper insight into tho 
characters of all sorts and conditions of 
men. 

Mr Dinwiddie is a Borderer, hailing from 
Ruthwcll, Dumfriesshire. The second son 
of Rev. J. L. Dinwiddie, he received his 
early education at Dumfries Academy, later 
going to Edinburgh University, where he 
graduated M.A. Then came the war. He 
joined the Gordon Highlanders in Aberdeen, 
at Victoria Road School, Torry, in 1914 as 
iul lieutenant. 

lb was drafted to France in 1915, and 
served throughout almost the who 
with the Gordons. His three decoration) 
were gained for gallantry, but as Mr Din- 
widdie displays a decided reticence on this 
subject, it is possible only to give tho bare 
details of how and where he got them. 

The Military Cross was awarded him in 
1915 for, as Mr Dinwiddie puts it, " taking 
a crater at Hooges." The crater was blown 
up, it appears, and there was a " mix-urt, 
and we had to hold it." In 1917 he received 
the D.S.O. for " work in the Battle of 
Arras." Then came the O.B.E. in 1918 
while he was a staff officer in G.H.Q. 
Retired with Rank of Major. 

Only those who served through the wai 
with Mr Dinwiddie know what bravery 
gained him his decorations. The Lite Rev. 
A. M. MacLean, minister of Paisley 
and the " Padre " of Mr Dinwiddie's 
regiment, in an address in the West Parish 
Church. Aberdeen, in 1916, spoko of him in 
the following terms, while describing the 
" Gay Gordoad " from an 



attack. 

" At the head of the column." hi 
" strode a young captain, with the purple 
and white ribbon of the Militar 
gleaming on his breast (a year ago he was 
a divinity student of tfie Church of Scot 
land), and a? T listened to him speaking a 
ord to bis men as a mother putting 
her children to bed, there was revealed to 
me something more of the nobility of the 
men with whom I had to do." 

Mr Dinwiddie remained in the army, as 
a staff officer in the War Office, until 1924, 
when he retired with the rank of major. 
He took a modified course in divinity at 
Edinburgh University and received the de- 
of B.D. in 1925, in which year he 
came to St Maehar. 

of Mr Dinwiddie's most pleasant 
war memories is of a trench which was 
named after him. " Dinwiddie's slide " a 
steep trench which caused much trouble 
and amusement in the ranks, was a greasy 
slope down which Mr Dinwiddie invariably 
pitched head-foremost while making his 
More than once too the 
Colonel inspected that part of the trenches 
on all fours, and it was lie. after a par- 
ticularly muddy slither, who demanded that 
it be known as " Dinwiddie's slide." Mr 
Dinwiddie assures me that lie felt honoured 
at the idea of a trench being called after 
him, even under the circumstai 








CATHEDRAL OF OLDMACHAR 



each side of the church, and one at each 
end. The east gallery was known as the 
college loft, and in it were accommodated 
the principal, professors, and students. 
They walked in procession from King's 
College to the Cathedral, the professors, 
at the head of their respective classes, in 
black gowns ; the students in their scarlet 
academical dress; the procession being 
headed by the sacrist in a purple cloak. 
The west gallery was called the common loft. 
The trades occupied the north and south 
galleries, their armorial bearings being 
shown in front, and in the south gallery the 
magistrates of Old Aberdeen had also their 
official seats. 

The crowning incident in the work of 
demolition was the fall of the great central 
tower in 1688. Cromwell's troops, in con 
structing fortifications on Castle Hill, re- 
moved many stones from the ruined part 
of the Cathedral, and so much of the 
masonry had been utilised in this way that 
afterwards it was thought necessary to 
take steps for preserving the tower in view 
of reports as to its instability. Buttresses 
were to be erected on the east side, but the 
workmen began operations quite close to 
the foundations, with the result that the 
tower was undermined, and, with a terrific 
crash, it fell to the ground. The devasta- 
tion caused by the fall of such an immense? 
structure was very great. The galleries 
were wrecked, the transepts were ruined, 
and many of the monuments to the illus- 
trious dead were broken in fragments. 

The pre-Reformation Bishops who oc- 
cupied the See were 31 in number. The 
complete list is still preserved, but the 
more outstanding names have already been 
referred to in connection with their work 
for the Cathedral. Among the post-Refor- 
mation Bishops there were some men of 
great gifts and widespread fame. The fol- 
lowing is the list, viz. : — (1) David Cunning- 
ham ; (2) Patrick Blackburn (1603-15) ; (3) 
Alexander Forbes (1611-17) ; (4) Patrick- 
Forbes (1618-35) ; (5) Adam Ballantine 
(1635-38) ; (6) David Mitchell (1661-62) ; (7) 
Alexander Burnett (1663-84) ; (8) Patrick 
Scougal (1664-82): (9) George Haliburton 
(1682-1715). 

Bishop Patrick Forbes was a kinsman of 
Andrew Melville, and a churchman of great 
influence. He was one of those appointed 
to revise the Confession of Faith, the 
Liturgy, and the Rules of Discipline of the 
Church, and by his character and talents 
ho gained universal esteem, not only in his 
diocese, but throughout the whole of Scot- 
land. Bishop Ballantine was deposed in 
1638, on the abolition, for the time, of 



Episcopacy. He withdrew to England, and 
his successor, Bishop David Mitchell, was 
consecrated on the restoration of Episco- 
pacy in 1661. The most famous name of 
all was that of Bishop Patrick Scougal. A 
man of eminence' himself, Bishop ScougaPs 
fame was eclipsed by that of his son, Pro- 
fessor Henry Scougal, the author of "The 
Life of God in the Soul of Man," a widely- 
known work, which has survived the inter- 
vening centuries, and is still prized to-day. 
All these good men and true served their 
own generation according to their light, 




Rev. Dr. Calder. 

and most of them were laid to rest near the 
picturesque scene of their labours 

In the still old town, 
Where the Minster towers 
Toll the passing hours 
To the ohiming College Crown. 

Centuries have passed since the last of 
them left the scene, but a new order of 
things arose around the Cathedral, which 
links its history, as a Presbyterian Church 
for the parish of Oldmachar, to the life of 
to-day. 

The Cathedral was taken possession of 
as a Presbyterian Church on 1st July, 1694, 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



and it lias remained in the hands of the 
Presbyterians ever since. The building 
underwent, at various times, a series of 
restorations. These were designed at first 
mainly to bring order out of chaos. The 
repeated acts of demolition, and especially 
the fall of the great tower, had left the 
structure almost unfit for occupation as a 
place of worship, and a certain amount of 
restoration was an absolute necessity. 
When this had been overtaken, other 
schemes followed from time to time, and 
while the Cathedral has never regained the 
grandeur of its earlier days, it has been 
greatly improved and beautified since the 
Reformation. To mention only some of the 
more recent restorations, there was the 
rebuilding of the north aisle and the large 
window in the east gable in the first half 
of the nineteenth century, and then, at a 
still later date — in 1867-69 — tne large 
scheme of general improvement and re- 
pairs. Under the latter scheme the gal- 
leries, which extended all round the build- 
ing, were removed, and the pulpit was 
transferred from the front of the north 
gallery to a place at the east end, so as to 
face the whole congregation, for whose 
accommodation a modern style of pews 
superseded the old ones in the area and 
the side aisles. The plaster in which the 
stone pillars were encased was removed, 
and— not least — the celebrated heraldic 
ceiling of the nave was restored. This 
scheme, which was designed by Mr. (after- 
wards Sir) Gilbert Scott, was the occasion 
of a lengthened, and at times, heated, con- 
troversy between the kirk-session and the 
landed proprietors and lesser heritors. 
Eventually, however, all difficulties were 
overcome, and it has been said that, in 
viewing the greatly-enhanced interior of 
the ancient building, ''the tiffs of temper 
and enforced expansion of purses were 
soon forgotten." The total outlay at this 
time was about £3700, of which the sum 
of £2988 was raised from the levying of 
assessments, and £700 granted from the 
Restoration Fund, which was collected by 
public subscription. The Cathedral was 
closed for fifteen months while the work was 
being carried out, and it was reopened for 
public worship in September, 1868. Still 
more recently, the east window was opened 
up, several stained glass windows were in- 
serted, and, in 1890, a magnificent pipe 
organ was erected, and certain necessary 
structural alterations were carried out. 
The organ, which cost several thousands 
of pounds, is admittedly one of the finest 
in the North of Scotland. 
The list of ministers who have held the 



collegiate charge of Oldmachar, with th" 
dates, as far as known, is as follows: — 

First Charge. 

1509 — James Lawson. 

157 — Alexander Arbuthnott. 

159 — David Raitt. 

1021 — Alexander Scrogie. 

1640— William Strachan. 

165 —John Sea ton, A.M. 

1658 — Alexander Scrogie, A.M. 

1661 — Alexander Middleton, A.M. 

1665 — Robert Reynolds. 

1072 — George Strachan. A.M. 

1679 — George Garden, A.M. 

1684- John Keith, D.D. 

1679 — Thomas Thomson. 

1705— David Corse. 

1714— Alexander Mitchell. 

1729 — George Chalmers. 

1746— James Mitchell. A.M. 

1773— Patrick Duff. 

1784— Skene Ogilvy, D.D. 

1830— Robert Smith, D.D. 

1878 -George Jamieson, D.D. 

1903-John Calder, D.D. 

Second Charge. 

5— Robert Howie. 

1601— John Chalmers. 

165 -John Seaton, MA. 

16 —Adam Sutherland. A.M. 

16 -Alexander Clark, A.M. 

1704— David Corse. 

1717 — William Smith. 

1731 James Mitchell. 

1747 — George Bartlett. 

1755— Patrick Duff. 

1774— Thomas Tair. A.M. 

1780— Robert Dunbar. 

1788 -Alexander Henderson, A.M. 

1791— George Grant. 

1795 — Alexander Simpson, A.M. 

1805— Alexander Walker. A.M. 

1811— Gilbert Gerard. D.D. 

1816 -Patrick Forbes. D.D. 

1847- Jame.s G Wood. 

1858 — George Jamieson. R.D. 

1878— John Calder. 

1903 -Thomas S. tat gill. H I>. 

In the list there occur the names of some 
men of outstanding eminence. Several of 
them held the post of Professor or Prin- 
cipal of King's College in conjunction with 
their ministerial charge, and not a few of 
the others were distinguished both as 
scholars and ecclesiastics. Dr. Patrick 
Forbes, who was minister of the Second 
Charge from 1816 to 1847. \\ a<* one of the 
leaders of the Moderate party of his day. 



CATHEDRAL OF OLDMAOHAR 



One of the best Latin teachers in the North 
of Scotland, he held, along with his charge, 
the Professorship of Humanity, and was 
known by the students as " Doctor 
Prosody." In the Presbytery and Synod 
of Aberdeen he led the Moderates in the 
stirring days of conflict preceding the Dis- 
ruption, his standing and influence being 
all the greater on account of the fact that 
he had been Moderator of the General 
Assembly in 1829. 

Dr. Skene Ogilvy, who held the First 
Charge from 1784 to 1830, has been 
described as " a well-read man, though of 
blunt and unprepossessing manners, with a 
shrewd and acute mind ; and, having con- 
siderable aptitude as a speaker, he often 
took part in the debates at the meetings of 
the General Assembly." 

More distinct in the public memory than 
either of these, is the personality of Dr. 
Robert Smith, who was minister of the 
First Charge for the very iong period of 
forty-eight years- from 1830 to 1878. Dr. 
Smith was a man of many parts. In addi- 
tion to carrying on the duties of his pas- 
torate, he took a large share in public work, 
and he is acknowledged to have been the 
founder of most of the Old Aberdeen chari- 
ties. With great foresight and shrewd 
ability he devoted himself to this particular 
phase of work, and, having secured the 
support of some of the most prominent 
citizens, lie laid the foundations of Insti- 
tutions and Trusts from which the parish- 
ioners and citizens are still reaping the 
benefit. 

The most striking figure in connection 
with the history of the Cathedral in recent 
years was unquestionably that of Dr. 
George Jamieson, who held the Second 
Charge from 1858 to 1878 and the First 
Charge from 1878 to 1903. In the affairs 
of the parish and in the work of his pastor- 
ate lie took a keen and practical interest, 
but it was by his theological and literary 
efforts that he became most widely known. 
A student and writer to the very last, he 
accomplished a remarkable amount of work 
on his favourite subjects. Ever of an 
original and speculative cast of mind, he 
was also a thoroughly independent thinker. 
He often arrived at conclusions at variance 
with commonly accepted ideas, but he was 
never afraid to give expression to what he 
thought. From 1845 onwards his pen was 
seldom idle, and he left behind him a long 
list of contributions on metaphysical and 
theological subjects. His industry was 
quite phenomenal. Dr. Jamieson was ol 
a somewhat impetuous temperament. fie 
always spoke his mind very plainly, and 



sometimes he might have been, not only 
forcible, but blunt, in his expressions. He 
took part in many an encounter, both in 
the Church Courts and elsewhere, but 
e\en his strongest opponents respected his 
unflinching championship of what he be- 
lieved to be right. Up to the end of his 
life, when he was in his eighty-eighth year, 
Dr. Jamieson continued in the active 
ministry, and his patriarchal figure came to 
be familiar everywhere. He was emphati- 
cally a man of mark in his day, and his 
picturesque personality and characteristic 
remarks will not soon be forgotten in the 
Aulton. 




Rev. Thomas S. Cargill. 

Rev. Dr. ('alder, the present minister of 
the First Charge, to which he was elected 
on the death of Dr. Jamieson, in 1903, had 
previously held the Second Charge from 
1878. An alumnus of Glasgow University, 
his first ministerial appointment was as 
assistant at Kirkhope, Selkirkshire, from 
which ho went to be assistant in 
St. Cuthhert's, Edinburgh. In 1872 
he was ordained minister of Leochel- 
Cushnie, where he remained for six years, 
until his appointment to Oldmachar in 
1R78. One of the conditions of his appoint- 
ment to the Cathedral was that a manse 
should be built for the Second Charge, and 



6 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



this arrangement was duly carried out. In 
the schemes for the improvement of the 
Cathedral which were executed in his time 
Dr. Calder has taken an active and pro- 
minent part, and he was also largely 
instrumental in securing the erection 
of St. Machar's Hall for the use of the 
congregation, and in promoting the erec- 
tion and defraying the cost of the organ. 
A vigorous, practical preacher, and a most 
attentive pastor, he has laboured 
wisely and well for Old Machar, 
and left his mark deep on its his- 
tory. Dr. Calder has been one of the 
leaders of the Church Extension movement 
in Aberdeen within recent years. As con- 
vener of the Presbyterial Committee, he was 
associated with the movement which re- 
sulted in the erection of St. Ninian's, while 
he was more directly responsible for the 
erection of Powis and St. Fittick's. Educa- 
tional affairs have also claimed his services. 
In his first country pastorate, at Leochel- 
Cushnie, he was a member of the School 
Board in the first years under the Act, and 
since coming to the Cathedral he served 
one term on the Oldmachar School Board, 
and on© term on the Aberdeen School Board. 
His grasp of affairs and his general business 
aptitude made him a most useful member. 
Dr. Calder is widely respected, both for his 
peiisonal worth and his genuine capacity. 

Rev. Thomas S. Cargill, B.D., who was 
ordained as minister of the Second Charge 
in 1903, was one of the most brilliant 
students of his time in St. Andrews Univer- 
sity. Both in Arts and Divinity he had a 
highly distinguished course, anil carried 
off many of the coveted prizes. He had 
been assistant minister at Inveresk before 
being elected to Oldmachar, and he came 
with a high reputation for his pulpit gifts, 
which he has fully maintained during his 
short pastorate. Mr. Cargill was associated 
with Dr. Calder in all the work of the col- 



legiate charge, the duties including not 
only the Cathedral services, but also re- 
gular services at preaching stations in out- 
lying districts of the parish. In October. 
1909, Mr. Cargill was elected minister of 
the parish of Cromdale, and with his de- 
parture the second charge was left vacant. 

The Cathedral has always had some con- 
nection with its neighbour, the University, 
either through the pulpit or the pew — some 
of its ministers, and many of its office- 
bearers, having been professors at King's 
College. In the present day the kirk-sessiou 
includes Professor Trail and Professor 
Nicol. Among the other elders are an 
educationist of the eminence of Dr. Dcy, 
and a well-known Old Aberdonian like Dr. 
Poison, together with other prominent und 
respected citizens. 

In connection with the congregation 
there are many organisations and agencies 
for seeking to reach both old and young. 
The.se are centred in St. Machar'.-, Hal!. 
where there is every accommodation for 
carrying on the different departments ot 
work. There the modern side of congrega- 
tional life is developed, while in the Cathe- 
dral itself, within the walls hoary with 
the traditions of centuries, the regular ser- 
vices of public worship are still held. There 
is much to appeal to the earnest worshipper 
in this 

" Church of the ages, all 
Arched and pillared, and grandly towered; 
Everywhere shaped by a thought divine. 
And dowered with wealth of land and gold, 
And memories high of the days of old." 

To visitors from all parts of the world 
St. Machar's Cathedral is .still a shrine to 
which they seem irresistibly attracted, 
while AberdoniatiiN are justifiably proud of 
the venerable pile, which, with its twin 
towers, has been so familiar through many 
generations. 



II.— CRAIGIEBUCKLER PARISH CHURCH. 




Craigiebuckler Parish Church. 



The origin of this congregation and its 
steady progress towards an assured posi- 
tion must be acknowledged as very largely 
due to the late Mr. J. C. Couper, of 
Craigiebuckler. As proprietor of the 
estate, Mr. Couper took a warm and prac- 
tical interest in the inception of the move- 
ment which led to the formation of the 
congregation ; and not only so, but he 
watched over the infant cause with a 
solicitude and helped it with a generosity 
worthy of all praise. 

The first steps in the matter were taken 
early in 1873, when Mr. Couper, in pur- 
suance of a scheme which had for some 
time been in his mind, built an iron church 
at Slopefield. Thus erection, which was 
seated for 170 to 180 worshippers, was 
opened in August, 1873. In course of the 
following year Rev. William Forbes, M.A., 
was appointed to take charge of the work. 
Three years later— on 19th July, 1877- he 
was ordained and admitted as first minister 
of Craigiebuckler Chapel of Ease. His con- 
nection with it ceased on 25th January, 
1881, on his appointment as first minister 
of Mannofield, to which charge he was ad- 
mitted on 10th March following. The 



vacancy at Craigiebuckler continued until 
22nd December, when Rev. George Ding- 
wall, B.D., was ordained to the pastorate. 
Mr. Dingwall, on his settlement in 1881, 
took up the work with vigour, and under 
his care the congregation increased and 
prospered. The desirability of having a 
permanent stone and lime building to re- 
place the iron church had been in view 
from the outset, and the proposal was for- 
mally submitted and adopted soon after 
the commencement of Mr. Dingwall's 
ministry. Mr. Couper gave a free site off 
the estate of Burnieboozle, and he also 
subscribed very liberally to the building 
fund, and secured many donations from his 
friends, with the result that the church 
was opened in 1883 free of debt. Many 
generous friends also came forward both at 
the erect ion of the building and in subse- 
quent years to help in the furnishing of the 
church, with the re6ult that Craigiebuckler 
to-day is, in respect of the accessories of 
worship, one of the most richly endowed in 
the district. In this connection mention 
may be made of the beautiful altar cloth 
presented by the ladies of the congregation 
at the time of the opening. Then in 1885 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



a stained glass window, after a design by 
Burne Jones, was erected by Sir George 
Reid, whose practical interest in the edifice 
was further shown by his gift of other four 
windows, while the decoration of the 
chancel was still another proof of his 
generosity. In 1887 the handsome octa- 
gonal carved oak pulpit, with panels re- 
presenting scenes from the life of Christ, 
was presented by Mr. Couper, who was 
also the donor of the reading desk. The 
church bells, it should also be noted, have 
great historic value. They were cast from 
the metal of " Auld Lowrie," the great bell 
of St. Nicholas Tower, whose sound was so 
familiar in the city from 1351, when it was 
presented by Provost Leith, until the burn- 
ing of the tower in 1874. Principal Sir 
William Geddes (then Professor of Greek) 
wrote a Latin inscription for the first of 
the bells, which runs thu6: — "Ilia ego 
campana quae, quondam inter penates 
Urbis Aberdoniae, incendio funesto turrifi 
Sancti Nicholai, A.D. MDCCCLXXIV., 
labefacta corriu fracta, nuno demun liquc- 
facta et denno restaurata prodeo campana 
Ecclesiae de Craigiebuckler, quod felix 
faustumque sit in seculo seculorum. Amen 
MDCCCLXXXII." Translation:—" Tin- 
same bell am I that, once among the heir- 
looms of the City of Aberdeen, having fallen 
in the direful conflagration of St. Nicholas 
Tower, A.D. 1874, was dashed to frag- 
ments, now at length, having fallen into 
the melting pot and been restored anew. 
I came forth the bell of the Church of 
Craigiebuckler, which event 1 pray may be 
happy and prosperous for evermore. Amen. 
1882." A brase plate bearing the fore- 
going inscription is affixed to the wall in- 
side the chancel of the church. The in- 
scription on the bell itself is as follows: — 

" Old Lowrie 

hung in St. Nicholas Steeple, A.D. 1351, 

and 

destroyed by fire, A.D. 1874. 

Young Lowrie 

recast from metal of Old Lowrie, 

A.D. 1882." 

The church was opened complete in every 
detail, even to the erection of a pipe organ. 
on the second Sunday in February, 1883. 

The next step in advance was in 1886. 
when the endowment was completed, and 
Craigiebuckler was erected into a " quoad 
sacra " parish. Mr. Dingwall's work was 
marked by ability and earnestness, and his 
ministry was attended by a gratifying mea- 
sure of success, which was largely the 
means of raising Craigiebuckler Church 



to an assured position. He continued 
in the pastorate until 18U2, when he 
accepted a call to the combined parishes 
of Liff and Benvie, near Dundee, where he 
has since remained. A further develop- 
ment of his ministry at Craigiebuckler is 
seen in the hall, which was built in a style 
in keeping with the architecture of the 
church itself. 

Mr. Dingwall was succeeded by the pie- 
sent minister, Rev. .James V ( uthbert, 
B.D., who was ordained and inducted to 
the charge in February, 1893. Mr. t uth- 
bert was a distinguished student both in 
Arts and Divinity at the University of 




Rev. J. N. Cuthbert, B D. 

Edinburgh. As a Hebrew scholar he was 
the first man of his time, taking the first 
prize and medal every year, and finishing 
with the Jeffrey Scholarship in Hebrew and 
Oriental Languages Ee also gained the 
first prize and medal in Biblical criticism. 
On the completion of hi> Divinity course, 
lie was licensed by the Presbytery of Lin- 
lithgow in 1891, and immediately thereafter 
was appointed assistant in I oats Parish. 
Coatbridge, where he remained until his 
election to Craigiebuckler. Mr. Cuthbert 
is an able and thoughtful preacher. He 
believes in an orderly and chaste Form of 
service, and in Craigiebuckler Church thi- 
ha.-- been very largely attained, the whole 



CRAl U1EB UGKLER PARISH CH URCti 



atmosphere and surroundings also lending 
themselves for this purpose. 

The membership is drawn from the 
suburban residences in the immediate 
vicinity of the church, and from the 
country districts round about, and is there- 
fore a mixed one, although it may be said 
to have more of the aspect of a fashionable 
suburban charge than of a country con- 
gregation. C'raigiebuckler occupies the 
most outlying position of any church in the 
west end, situated as it is on the borders 
of the city boundary. In the meantime its 
situation may be rather extreme to permit 
of any great increase in numbers, but with 



the westward tendency of the city, and the 
steady progress of building operations in 
the district, the adjacent population is 
likely to be much greater in the near 
future. With the extension of the city 
still going on apace, the prospects of 
C'raigiebuckler are improving every year, 
and the church, which now stands on a 
country roadside, may soon be found in the 
heart of villadom, with a large residential 
constituency from which it may draw ad- 
ditional members, and among which it may 
exercise a potent and helpful influence. It 
may be looked on as a church of the future, 
but its present is not devoid of attainment. 



Ill- EAST PARISH CHURCH. 




East and West Churches, 1824. 



The history of the East Church 
can be traced back several centuries. 
Originally, the church formed the 
choir or eastern portion of the old 
Church of St. Nicholas, and its erec- 
tion is said to have covered the period 
from 1477 to 1522. The internal aspect 
of the building was changed from time to 
time according to the requirements of the 
prevailing form of religion. In pre-Re- 
formation days the internal space was left 
almost wholly free of seats, and the altar 
stood at the east end. Under Pres- 
byter ianism the high altar gave place to 
the pulpit and the precentor's desk; the 
whole ground space was seated in the 
ordinary church style, single galleries were 
put up in the side aisles, and two galleries 
in the west end. The upper gallery was 
known as the sailors' loft, from the root 
of which, according to a fashion then 
common in the churches of the city, there 
was suspended a large model of a full- 
rigged ship. Tn 1835 tbe old building was 
taken down, and a new and handsome 
Gothic church erected on the site, in ac- 
cordance with a design by the late Mr. 



Archibald Simpson. The old tran- 
known as Drum's Aisle and Collison's 
Aisle, were at the same time opened up 
southwards, and formed into a vestibule. 
Drum's Aisle serving as the main entrance 
to the church. The new building \\ :.- 
opened for public worship on 7th May, 
1S'37. Inn in less than 40 years it was in 
ruins. On the evening of 9th Octobe.. 
1874, there occurred one of the historic 
tin.- m the annals of Aberdeen, whereby 
the East Church was completely destroyed, 
and the old oak steeple levelled to the 
ground. For a time the congregation 
worshipped in the Music Hall, at first 
along with the West congregation, who 
had also been rendered homeless by the 
fire, and afterwards by themselves. The 
church was restored in the same style, and 
as such it now stands. It is a spacious 
building, well furnished m every way 
and with accommodation for 1350 sit- 
tings. 

On the division of the collegiate charge 
<>f St. Nicholas into (lie six city parishes, 
i he Second Charge was formed into the 
East Parish, and the East Church was 



"ST GEORGE'S, EDINBURGH." 

DR-FOOTE AND THE AUTHOR OF THE 
TUNE. 



Under date 1819, we find in the unpublished 
autobiography of Dr Foote (the famous minister 
of the East Parish, Aberdeen, who came out at j 
the Disruption] a letter from Dr Andrew j 
Thomson, the author of thi6 tune, which, 
contains the following little bit of interesting in- 
formation : — "We are just now on the eve of 
publishing a collection of tunes for our congrega- 
tion. Knowing jour love for Psalmody, 1 have 
named one of these tunes after your parish, 
'J/ogie-Pert.' 1 have composed one for the 

136th Psalm, first version, one for the 24th 
Psalm, 'Ye Gates, lift up your heads,' and one 
for the Paraphrase, ' 1'is finished! was His 
latest voice.' A note such as this gives us a clue 
to the information we want and affords practically 
an answer to our question. We have no doubt, 
therefore, that this tune has been sung either in 
the East Parish Church. Aberdeen, or in the Free 
1 East since the .year 1825, or for the long period 
of 87 years. Both Dr Thomson and Dr Foote 
were musical. We find that to the "Christian 
Instructor,'' of which Dr Thomson was editor, 
]>r Foote contributed, in 1815, an article on "'The 
proposed improvement and enlargement of the 
Psalmody of the Church of Scotland.'' Previously 
he had contributed an article on "The cultivation 
of Church Music" to the same periodical. Writ- 
ing to Dr Foote, Dr Thomson says: — ''I shall 
be most happy to see you, and expect, indeed, 
that you will not pass through Edinburgh with- 
out eating bread and salt with me.'' It was on 
such a visit that Dr Foote wrote: — "I have been 
present at a select party, performing sacred 
music in his house (Dr Thomson's) in Edinburgh." 
Church musio claimed a large share of Dr 
Thomson's attention. He was an enthusiastic 
musical amateur, and was specially interested 
in the improvement of Scottish Psalmody. Ho 
eased an exquisite car and taste, and intro- 
duced an improved Psalmody into the Scottish 
Church. In 1820 he published "Saored Har- 
mony'' for the use of St George's, Edinburgh, 
which contained eleven tunes written by him 
tho two best known being "Redemption" and 
"St. tieorge's. Edinburgh." 

Dr Footre'fl knowledge and love of music are 
well known to all who know anything of thw 
saintly man. In his autobiography we find the 
following reference to the subject: — " I began 
to play the violin when I was about eight years 
of age. and could sing and play airs with facility, 
and at Durham [where he acted for some time its 
tutor] came to play. I entered with great feel- 
ing and enjoyment into every kind of music, 
whether slow or quick. 1 oocrtd play various 
airs after hearing them once. I saw through 
the principles of harmony without any sensible 
effort 1 could write down airs from hearing, and 
harmonise them into three or four parts at a very 
early age, and now when I look at any air, if 
it be not complex, 1 can imagine 1 see it 
noted, and going on in all its parts, and thus 
a musical treat in perfect solitude and 
nee." When Dr Foote came, to Aberdeen, lie 
wrote that he had a more favourable field for 
Tho cultivation of church music (and in a long 
passage, which we may print some day, he gives 
hie views on what constitutes congregational 
singing). Regarding choirs, he wrote :—" Some 
declaim against choirs. 1 cannot enter into their 
.lews. If judiciously managed and not overdone, 
Jie effect is excellent. My experience is all in 
their favour. Jf we are to keep alive the interest 
of those who are skilful, there must be consider- 
able variety of tune and style." 

Dr Foote not only played the violin but also 
the organ, and if he bad been alive to-day. he 
would, we are sure, have viewed with delight 
the increased attention that is 'being paid to 
church music, and would have done everything 
to encourage it. 



Of the author of " Sr. George's, Edinburgh." a 
few words must suffice- Born at Sanquhar in 
1779. he became minister of Sprouston, in the 
Presbvtery of Kelso, in 1802; removed to the 
East Church. Perth, 1808. and in 1810 to New 
Clreyfriars, Edinburgh: and. to the important 
charge of St George's, Edinburgh, m 1814. The 
latter congregation at that time was made up of 
the most influential persons in the Scottish 
capital. Dr Thomson's labours, were prodigious, 
lie flrote a catechism on "The Lord's Supper", 
u inch had a great sale; lie edited, as we have 
-aid. the "Christian Instructor," a magazine 
which exercised no small influence in its day; 
contributed to the "Edinburgh Encyclopaedia" ; 
conducted a class for the instruction of young 
;>ersons in tlie "Shorter Catechism" : looked afier 
;i week-day school, for which he compiled suitable 
text-books, and sometimes acted as teacher, and 
took an active part in the Church Courts, where 
he exhibited great, eloquence, and became the 
recognised leader 6f the Evangelical party in 
I he Assembly of the Church of Scotland He was 
opposed to patronage in the Church, and was on 
most friendly terms with ..dissenters of all de- 
nominations. He fought for. andjdemanded, the 
abolition of slavery in the West Indies, and took 
part in a great discussion for the expunging of 
the books of the Apocrypha from 

the publications of the British and 

Foreign Bible Society. A man of 

fearless and noble character, he made an im- 
pression on the public mind such as few men 
have done. Lik" his great successor, Dr Chalmers. 
he died with tragic, suddenness in 1831. and is 
buried in St Cufchbert's Churchyard, Edinburgh. 
No notice of Dr Andrew Thomson would be com- 
plete without a reference to his precentor, Kobert 
Archibald Smith, who composed the tunes, " In- 
vocation." the tune to " How beautiful upon the 
mountains,'' " Selma," etc. 

M~Y~ r ld'% C. M. L. | 




THE MODERATORSHJP, 

Nomination of Professor 
Cooper. 



The Rev. Profeseor Cooper, D.D., Glasgow 
University, haa been nominated by the College j 
of Moderators for the Moderatorship of tho 
noxt Goneral Assembly of the Church of Scot- 
land. 

Professor Cooper has for many years taken 
3 prominent part in Church life in Scotland, 
and while he lias always been closely interested 
in the business of the General Assembly, iuis 
activities have extended to many other fickle of 
Church work. 

Ho was born at Elgin in 1846, and after re- 
eeiving his early education a.t tho Academy 
there ho proceeded to Aberdeen University. 
He graduated in 1867, and, having cornp. Ced 
hia divinity course, he spent some time in study 
and trace! on the Continent. On bis return to 
Scotland in 1871 he whs licensed by the P 
tery of Elgin and two years later he was m- 
: ducted as minister of St Stephen's Church. 
Brnughty Ferry. 

His next onartfe v, as tn< mrch of Sr 

i Nicholas, Aberdeen, where be 6©rved for 17 

! years. Ilia miinistry was remarkable for the zeal 

i which he threw into his work, and among the 

students of Aberdeen to whoso welfare be was 

assiduously devoted, bo was excer 

popular. Dr Cooper's tas-les and inclinations 

have always lain in the region of ecclesiastical 

history. Throughout his ministerial career his 

studies were to a largo extent directed to his 

subject, upon which he came to bo recognised 1- 

an authority, and when the Professorship of 

Church JIMory at Glasgow University became 

vacant in 1898 by the resignation of the Very 

Rev. Dr Story ho was appointed to the Chair. 

^= 



kAST PARISH CHURCH 



11 



assigned to the congregation. The 

ministers of the East may therefore be 
regarded as in the direct line of succession 
from the ministers of the Second Charge, 
the list of whom as given in Scott's 
"Fasti EccLesite Scoticanae " is as follows: 
1577, David Cunningham; 1596, Peter 
Blakburne; 1602, James Ross; 1631, 
William Guild, D.D. ; 1641, John Oswald; 
1649, John Meiizies; 1650, Andrew Cant, 
younger; 1659, George Meldrum, A.M.; 
1633, George Gordon, A.M. ; 1695, Thomas 
Ramsay ; 1700, Thomas Blackwell ; 1726, 
James Chalmers ; 1728, John Bisset ; 1757, 
George Campbell, A.M. ; 1772, George 
Abercrombie, A.M.; 1791, Hugh Hay; 
1793, George Gordon, A.M. ; 1812, Robert 
Doig; 1824, John Murray, A.M. Some 
of these names have been handed down to 
posterity. Dr. William Guild is kept in 
immortal memory as the benefactor of the 
Aberdeen Incorporated Trades. Rev. John 
Bisset, although he remained in the 
Establishment himself, is generally re- 
garded as the founder of the Secession in 
Aberdeen. Several of the number became 
Professors of Divinity either in King*s 
College or Marischal College, and at least 
one attained to a Principalship. 

When the six city parishes were formed 
in 1828, the Rev. James Foote, one of 
the collegiate ministers of St. Nicholas, 
who had usually officiated in the east 
portion along with the Rev. John Murray, 
was appointed minister of the East 
Parish. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Foote con- 
tinued in the charge until the Disruption 
of 1843, when he cast in his lot with the 
Free Church, and became minister of the 
Free East. He was a man highly esteemed 
(or his devoted and earnest work. Before 
the close of the Disruption year, the Rev. 
Simon Mackintosh, of Inverness, was 
settled as minister of the Mast Parish. 
He found the congregation greatly reduced 
to numbers, but under his preaching the 
empty pews soon began to fill up. It has 
been said that Simon Mackintosh was, 
without any exaggeration, the foremost 
preacher of his time in Aberdeen. He 
took a thorough grasp of his subject, and 
reasoned it out with a keen, logical 
power, and an elegance of style not al- 
ways found in unison. In 1848 he re- 
ceived the degree of D.D. from his own 
Unversity at Aberdeen, an honour then 
very rarely bestowed on a young man, 
and therefore a striking proof of 
the deep impression he had made 
in the city. There was a strange 
solemnity about his sermons, and a 
strong note of conviction which seemed 



to touch every hearer, but in a sense his 
death was even more impressive than his 
life. He had a seemingly robust frame, 
but symptoms of heart disease began to 
manifest themselves, and, after a short 
illness, he was cut off at the comparatively 
early age of 37. The end came suddenly, 
the first intimation reaching the con- 
gregation when it had assembled at a fore- 
noon service. The name of Dr. Simon 
Mackintosh can never be forgotten in the 
East Parish. He held the charge only for 
ten years, but he raised the congregation 
from the ruin in which he found 
it after the Disruption until it was 
established in a thoroughly sound and 
flourishing condition, which it has never 
since lost. Dr. Mackintosh was succeeded 
in 1853 by the Rev. William Ogilvie, who, 
however, found the charge too heavy, and 
who, after about three years' work, ac- 
cepted a call ' t<> Fintray. 

A number of names were soon submitted 
for the vacancy, and much heated con- 
troversy took place over the election. 
Ultimately the appointment fell to the 
Rev. John Marshall Lang, of Kilnnin, 
who became minister of the parish in 
June, 1856. Mr. Lang was then a very 
young man, but he was highly recom- 
mended by the great Dr. Norman Macleod, 
and he soon justified his election. He 
gave evidence of possessing excellent 
pulpit power, with a gift of flowing 
eloquence, while his great public spirit 
and his frank and manly courtesy, which 
never failed, whether among rich or poor, 
helped to obliterate the distinctions and 
divisions occasioned in the turmoil of the 
vacancy. He threw himself at once with 
great zeal and earnestness into the duties 
of the charge, working himself and mak- 
ing others work along with him. He 
organised Sunday Schools and other useful 
agencies, and introduced improvements 
still retained in the church. It is rather 
interesting and amusing to recall the 
difficulty lie experienced in introducing a 
certain innovation in the mode of public 
worship. He wished the congregation to 
stand at praise and kneel or sit at prayer, 
and urged strongly that the Presbytery 
should grant such a liberty where it was 
desired. Dr. Pirie and Mr. Fairweather, 
of Nigg, opposed the proposal, and carried 
their point. What changes have time 
wrought! The practice then dreaded and 
decried is now practically universal, and 
Mr. Lane;, (hen I lie young minister of the 
Easl Parish, became the honoured Prin- 
cipal of Aberdeen University. 

On Mr. Lang's removal, in 1859, 



12 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



to Fyvie — a change which he felt 
compelled to accept for the sake of 
his health — a leet of five candidates 
appeared before the congregation. By 
a majority of the Congregational Com- 
mittee, against the wishes of the kirk- 
session, the name of Rev. Robert Flint, 
then assistant to Dr. Norman Macleod in 
the Barony, Glasgow, was placed on the 
loot. Despite the keen division among 
the office-bearers, and notwithstanding the 
fact that he was i\ young man of 23, 
who had been licensed only ten months, 
Mr. Flint was elected by an overwhelming 
majority. His first appearance, however, 
caused some misgiving. Dr. Norman 
Macleod, on being asked for an opinion, 
had said — " Flint is a noble fellow ; what- 
ever lie undertakes he will do or die in 
harness." The general impression seemed 




Principal Lang. 

to bo that the noble fellow would lie a 
giant of physical strength, and it is said 
to have been curious to note the blank ex- 
pression that flitted across the faces of 
the congregation when a slight and ex- 
tremely pale and thin young man entered 
the pulpit. " A rough voice and pro- 
vincial accent," it was stated, "did not 
improve the impression." Yet there was 
evidently no mistaking the impression 
which was produced by bis preaching 
According to one description given at the 



time, " he made no attempt at oratorical 
display, but at once dashed into his sub- 
ject with an intense earnestness and 
energy which at times thrilled through 
the heart like the sound of a trumpet. 

Mr. Flint was not robust in health, and 
he did not attempt the work of visiting 
and organising which his predecessor had 
carried on. He gave his whole strength to 
his pulpit, and he soon became the fore- 
most preacher in the city. His thrilling 
and masterly sermons, characterised by 
great intellectual power and a fervid 
delivery gained for him the ear of the city, 
and the East Church became crowded to 
overflowing. This brilliant ministry wa6 
destined, however, to be of short duration. 
Mr. Flint had realised all along that he 
was physically unable, even with the as- 
sistance of two missionaries, to carry the 
burden of such a heavy city charge, and 
when he received the offer of presentation 
to the parish of Kilconquhar, in Fife, he 
felt constrained to accept. He had been 
only about two years in Aberdeen, and 
his congregation, alarmed at the prospect 
of losing so great an ornament of the 
pulpit, offered a large increase of stipend. 
Financial inducements, however, \\> 
no avail, and Mr Flint removed to the 
greater leisure of a country parish, and 
afterwards found his true sphere as a I'ro- 
t of Divinity, first al St Andrews 
and afterwards at Edinburgh. Dr. Flint's 
ministry in Aberdeen was a very brief 
one. but brief as it was, it left a deep 
impression, and there are those who still 
recall with glowing satisfaction their re- 
collections of his preaching, and who refei 
with pride to the fact that Aberdeen was 
the first to discover and appreciate th ■ 
gifts which have since placed him in the 
very front rank of theologians and 
preachers in Scotland. 

I' or their next minister the oong 
tion of the East Parish turned to o 
mature experience in the person of Rev. 
Colin M'Culloch, of Montrose, whose in- 
duction took place in 1862. Mr. M'Culloch 
came to Aberdeen in the prime of life. 
and with an established reputation. He 
was an earnest and able preacher, as well 
as a diligent worker, and his kindly per- 
sonalis commended him to the 
tion. " In 1866 Mr. M'Culloch obtained 
leave of absence to visit Australia, where 
his wife had been ordered for the sake 
of her health. Finding that he would 
have to make a prolonged stay, he sent 
home an intimation of his wish to resign 
the charge, and in view of the circum- 
stances this was accepted. Rev. Alex- 



EAST PARISH CHURCH 



13 



ander W. Brown, who had been acting as 
locum tenens during Mr. M'Culloch's 
absence, was then elected to the vacancy 
At one time Mr. Brown had been con- 
nected with the Free Church, and had 
been minister of St. Bernard's, Edin- 
burgh. From 1866 to 1875 he carried on 
all the work of the Fast Parish, but in the 
latter year he applied for the appoint- 
ment of an assistant and successor, and 
retired from active duty. He afterwards 
removed from Aberdeen, and although he 
remained senior minister of the parish for 
other twenty years — -until his death in 
1895 — he had practically passed out of all 
local connection 

The first assistant and successor was 
Rev. Charles M'Gregor, now Dr. M'Gregor 
of Lady Yester's, Edinburgh, who held 
the charge from 1875 to 1881. His 
ministry in Aberdeen was characterised li- 
ability and success. On his departure, 
the choice of the congregation fell on Rev. 
James Cooper, of Broughty-Ferry, witli 
whose induction in 1881 the East Church 
entered on a most interesting period of its 
history. Mr. Cooper, member of a well- 
known Elgin family, had been a distin- 
guished graduate of Aberdeen University, 
and he did not come as a .stranger to the 
city. He soon made <i place for himself in 
the community, and in 1892 he received the 
honorary degree of D.D. from his Alma 
Mater. 

Dr. Cooper's ministry was a remarkable 
one in many ways. The High Church 
tendencies of which he was accused gave 
rise at one stage in his pastorate to a 
prolonged and troublesome controversy, 
into which il is unnecessary to enter. Of 
the value of his services to the church and 
parish, and of the worth of his work as a 
citizen of Aberdeen, it is possible, how- 
ever, to speak in terms of the highest 
commendation. The restored St. Mary's 
Chapel under the East Church would alone 
be a tribute to the devotion and value of 
his services, while his self-denying and in- 
cessant labours among the poor will not 
soon be forgotten. Of the part he took 
in the promotion of all societies of learn- 
ing and culture in the city, much could 
also be said. His appointment to the 
Chair of Church History in Glasgow 
University in 1898 was a well-deserved re- 
cognition of scholarly attainments, but it 
deprived Aberdeen of a citizen who bad 
gained the respect and esteem of all 
classes, even of those who differed 
strongly from him in matters of dor-trine 
and ritual. 



In May, 1899, the present minister 
of the East Parish, Rev. George Walker, 
H.D., was inducted to the charge. He 
is a native of Kirkwall, and the son 
of the Rev. James Walker, of St. Magnus 
Cathedral. His University course both in 
Arte and Divinity was taken at Edinburgh, 
and he gained a distinguished place in 
his classes, securing honours in philosophy, 
and carrying off many prizes in theology. 
In 1887 he was settled at Callander, where 
he had a most successful and encouraging 
ministry of twelve years before being 
called to Aberdeen. Since coming to 
the East Church, Mr. Walker has 
fullv maintained its traditions. Bv 




Rev. George Walker, B.D. 

his kindly personality, he has gained 
i br esteem of the whole body of the people, 
ami by earnest and devoted work he has 
been able ti> keep all the manifold opera- 
tions <>i the church in full vigour. Mr. 
Walker's pulpit discourses are able and 
practical. He has a high ideal of the 
work of the ministry, and strives zealously 
to carry hi6 ideals into practice. 

There have been many prominent men 
associated with the East Church in the 
course of its history Mr. Francis J. 
Cochran of Balfour, Mr. Robert Smith 
of Glenmillan, Mr. William Yeats of 
Auquharney, Mr. James Westland, man- 
ager of the North of Scotland Bank; Mr. 
John Angus, town clerk; Dr. Galen, and 
Messrs Charles and Alexander Rose of 



1 1 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Bazelhead are a few of the prominent 
personages of its bye-gone days. The suc- 
cession us well maintained to-day in a 
kirk-session which contains the names ol 
Mr. David M. M. Milligan, Mr. Charles 
Smith, Mr. G. B. Michie, Mr. James R. 
Whyte, Mr. George G. Jenkins, Mr. A. 
M. Williamson. Mr. Francis J. Cochran, 
and others. The senior elders arc Mr 
Alexander Walker, commission agent, 
and Mr. George Carmichael, bank agent, 
both of whom were ordained to the office 
in 1872. 

One of the outstanding features of the 
East Church of to-day is its enormous 
membership. In this respect lit stands 
among the very first in the Church of 
Scotland, only a very few parishes reach- 
ing a higher figure. At 31st December, 
1907, the Communion roll stood at the 
remarkable total of 2972, and the in- 
crease is still going on. The congregation 
is a very mixed one, including, as it does, 
almost every grade in the social scale. 
There are the wealthy and influential from 
the west end, a considerable proportion of 
the middle and working classes, and a 
large number of the very pooT. The ex- 
tensive philanthropic and mission work 
carried on by the congregation in the 
slums has contributed to a considerable 
extent in keeping the church in touch 
with the poor, and in securing the ad- 
herence of the poor to the church. The 
mission rooms in Castle Street are the 
centre of a great amount of earnest and 
well-directed effort on behalf of the people 



of the district, and in this beneficent work 
the ladies of tiie congregation take a fore- 
most part. 

The East Church has had a splendid 
succession of able assistants. One of the 
most distinguished is now Principal 
Stewart, of St. Andrews, and another who 
lias gained another kind of prominence in 
connection with his High Church tenden- 
cies is K<n . T. N. Adamson, of Barnhill, 
Broughty-Ferry, who was associated with 
the East Church under Dr. Cooper. It is 
impossible to omit reference to the daily 
service in St. Mary's Chapel, which k be- 
lieved to be the only daily service in the 
north of Scotland. On Thursday it takes 
the form of a " Weekly Exercise,*' with 
sermon, and the Thursday " Weekly- 
Exercise" has existed in Aberdeen with 
scarcely a break since 1561. It seenir~ to 
have been established immediately after 
the Reformation, and there are several 
early notices of the Holy Communion be- 
ing administered at this service for l>< - 
hoot of merchants and seamen who were 
to set sail before the Sunday. 

The work carried on in connection with 
the East Church, so varied, extensive, and 
successful in its operations, reflects credit- 
ably on the vitality of the congregation. 
The parish is well equipped, with its fine 
church, its historic chapel, and its com- 
modious mission rooms, but it still lacks — 
and lacks greatly — a .suite of halls in close 
proximity to the church itself, and con- 
structed according to modern i< 1 ■ 



IV.— FERRYHILL PARISH CHURCH 




Ferryhill Parish Church. 

Ferryhill was one of the districts which 
the Aberdeen Church Extension Associa- 
tion had in view from the beginning of its 
operations. At that time it was looked upon 
as a rising suburb — new streets were being 
laid out, building was in progress, and a 
now population was springing up in several 
directions. The Established Church was 
in a sense entirely unrepresented in this 
rising section of the community, and it was 
to remove such a reproach that a scheme 
of church extension was adopted, Ferry- 
hill being the first district in the city to 
which the association directed its efforts. 

The method of operations in this case 
was different from the others. Instead of 
proceeding immediately to secure the erec- 
tion of a church and the thorough equip- 
ment of a congregation, work was begun at 
first in a tentative fashion. The triangular 
plot of ground at the junction of Ferryhill 
Terrace and Ferryhill Road was regarded 
as a desirable site, and there (almost on 
the spot where the present church hall 
stands) an iron church was erected for tem- 
porary use. This structure was opened in 
October, 1873, and it was soon apparent 
that a felt want was being supplied. For- 
tunately for the cause, Rev. Henry Cowan, 
of the West Parish, undertook responsi- 
bility for the services. Mr. Cowan, as 
pioneer of the extension movement, had 
resigned his connection with the historic 
West Church in order that he might under- 
take the formation of a new congregation 
at Queen's Cross. When he left the West 
to further this movement, Rubislaw Church 
was not ready for occupancy, and in the 
interval he went to Ferryhill and took 
charge of the work there. His preaching 



attracted good audiences to the Iron 
Church, and the nucleus of a congregation 
was soon formed. In addition to those 
who became members, there were many 
who had an informal connection with the 
congregation as regular worshippers, 
although they still retained their member- 
ship with one or other of the existing city 
churches. The prospect* of future develop- 
ment and progress were therefore felt to be 
encouraging, and the scheme for the erec- 
tion of a stone and lime church suitable 
for the district was heartily supported. The 
plans prepared by Mr. William Smith, city 
architect, gave a granite edifice of Gothic 
design. The church itself is nearly cruci- 
form in shape, the wings consisting of 
transepts on either side at the west end 
of the building, the general appearance of 
the exterior being effective while not pre- 
tentious. Internally the building is band- 
some and well appointed. A gallery at one 
end provides accommodation for about 200 
— the entire seating capacity of the build- 
ing being about 820. Along with the other 
fittings, a handsome organ was installed by 
Messrs. Conaeher and Company, of Hud- 
dersfield, at an initial cost of over £400. 
The opening services took place in August, 
1877, the preachers on the occasion being 
Rev. 'IV B. W. Niven, of Glasgow, and 
Rev. Charles M'Gregor, of the East Parish. 
In the interval, however, before the new 
building was opened, and while the ser- 
vices were still being held in the Iron 
Church, Mr. Cowan bad left for Rubislaw, 
and Rev. Henry W. Wright had been or- 
dained and inducted as minister of the 
congregation. Mr. Wright was a student 
<>l Glasgow University, and after complet- 
ing his course he acted for some time as 
assistant, first to Dr. Pagan, of Both- 
well, and afterwards to Dr. M'Culloch in 
the West Church, Greenock. It was when 
he served in the latter capacity that Mr. 
Wright was called in 1875 to undertake the 
work at Ferryhill. Since coming to Aber- 
deen he has worked quietly, but none the 
less effectively, to further the interests of 
his congregation. A man of cultured 
tastes and many accomplishments, Mr. 
Wright has kept himself abreast of all 
developments in the various depart- 
ments of thought, and although his 
gifts may not have become widely known 
to the general community, they have been 
held in high appreciation by those who 
know him. His reputation as a highly cul- 
tured musician and an accomplished lecturer 



16 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Rev. Henry W. Wright. 

on musical subjects is well known in tlie 
city. Yet, notwithstanding these various 
interests, Mr. Wright has devoted himself 
to Ferryhill Church, labouring with un- 
assuming yet unremitting earnestness year 
after year to further its interests. By his 
own people, who know him best, he is 
greatly beloved, and the poor especially 
recognise in him one of the kindest and 
most sympathetic of friends. Thus, while 
he lias confined himself to his own parish, 
and very largely to his own corner of the 
city, his influence there may have been 
stronger than would have appeared to out- 
siders, seeing that it has been so largely 
(ho influence of a genuine and unaffected 
personality. 

The congregation at Ferryhill has de- 
veloped in many ways in the course of its 
history. The raising of the original cost 
of the building and endowment of the 
church, which, like the other branches of 
the extension scheme, was so generously 
helped by the Baird Trust, made a heavy 
demand for some years on the financial re- 
sources of the members. The original 
trustees of the church were — Mr. J. B. 
Adam, .shipowner; Mr. John Milne (of 
^Messrs. Milne and Pledge), and Mr. John 
Thompson : and on them a large burden 
of the work and responsibility fell in the 
earlier years of its history. Ferryhill was 
created a parish in 1879. and on 18th 
January, 1880, the first elders were or- 
dained. The original kirk-session con- 
sisted of Messrs. J. B. Adam. James Alex- 
ander, And iew Collie, James Hadden, Wil- 
liam Jolly, George Leslie, John Milne, and 
John Thompson. When the congregation 



entered the present church the membership 
u;is about 170 while to-day it is between 
y00 and 1000. This tells of steady progress 
through llie intervening years. 'Hie in- 
crease in si length and influence has been 
manifest in other ways. After the church 
itself had been thoroughly equipped, and all 
its affairs put in a prosperous condition, the 
question of building a church hall was 
broached. The scheme was taken up with 
enterprise, and the result was the erection 
of the present handsome and commodious 
hall, which was opened on 22nd October, 
1886. Since then there have been no im- 
portant outward developments, nor does 
there seem to be much scope for further 
improvement of the edifice. 

In the work of Ferryhill Church an im- 
portant part has been taken by those who 
have from time to time held office in the 
congregation. In addition to the original 
trustees and kirk-session already men- 
tioned, the name of Mr. R. S. Smith, l«>r- 
nierly Inland Revenue Assessor at Aber- 
deen has to be added as that of a most 
influential helper in the early years of the 
congregation's history. Mr. George Leslie. 
late printer, was one of the first eight 
elders to be ordained, and he has served 
the congregation loyally through all its 
history. The present trustees are— Mr. 
Peter Beveridge. manufacturer; and Mr. 
Stephen Hunter, manager, Northern Agri- 
cultural Company. Professor Gilroy ha 
many years been connected with the con- 
gregation, and he is now one of its elders. 
In the ranks of the office-bearers, either 
as elders or managers, there are others 
whose names are well known in the com- 
munity, such as Mr. John Mortimer, har- 
bour commissioner ; Mr. Charles Merrvlees. 
manager, North of Scotland and Orkney 
and Shetland Steam Navigation Company : 
Mr. R. K. Smith, and others. 

Ferryhill Church has had no phenomenal 
experience in the 3"2 years of its congrega- 
tional life. It has known little of change 
— for it is still a church of one pastorate 
and it has made no startling develop- 
ments, but has pursued its course quietly 
and diligently, filling with efficiency the 
position of a Parish Church for the district 
of the city in which it is placed. If it has 
made no particular stir and has been 
comparatively little heard of in the com- 
munity, perhaps this is. in some measure 
at least, to be accounted for by the fact 
that everything lias gone smoothly. There 
ha; been nothing to disturb its harmony, 
and this, together with the work which has 
beeti done, is a tribute both to minister 
and people. 



V.— GILCOMSTON PARISH CHURCH. 




Gilcomston Parish Church. 

The Church of Gilcomston was built sir.-! 
opened in 1771 as a Chapel of Ease within 
the bounds and under the jurisdiction of 
(ho Parish Church of Oldmachar. The 
district, however, was entirely different 
then from what it is to-day. 

In the closing years of the eighteenth 
century the lands of Gilcomston forme I 
one of the suburbs of the city of Aber- 
deen. Small communities of working 
people were settled here and there in 
the locality, as they had found that rents 
and taxes were lower than in the city. 
Thus in the Denburn district there was 
a considerable population, mostly of 
weavers and shoemakers, and then, a little 
farther off, in Jack's Brae, Leadeide, and 
Loanhead, there were other small settle- 
ments. Being within the parish of Old- 
machar, these people depended for the 
supply of religious ordinances on the 
ministers of the parish, and, being 
situated so far from the Parish Church at 
Old Aberdeen, it was found necessary to 
make some provision for them in their own 
district. Accordingly, a chapel was built 
on a site which is still a conspicuous one, 
notwithstanding all the changes in the 
locality, and which then occupied quite a 
commanding position. Built on rising 
ground, it was for many years a solitary 
and imposing object, the ground stretch- 
ing westwards, where Skene Street and 
Garden Place now stand, being then under 
the plough. Externally the chapel was a 
large, square-built, plain building, more 
than severely simple in its architectural 
features, and the very embodiment of that 
type of ecclesiastical edifice familiarly 



known as a " barn." In its interior there 
was no pretension to elegance of any kind. 
There were galleries on three sides, and 
above the end gallery, facing the pulpit, 
there was — in Dr. Kidd's time, at anyrate 
— a "cock loft," which was also fully 
occupied at all the services. The seats 
were narrow almost beyond endurance, 
the aim of those responsible for the ar- 
rangements having been, not to secure 
the comfort of those who came, but to give 
accommodation of some kind to the 
greatest number. In front of the end 
gallery there was suspended the model of 
a ship, the Agnes Oswald, a custom which 
was followed in several of the other 
churches in the city in those days as a 
symbol of the importance of the seafaring 
calling to the poptdation of that period. 

The first minister of Gilcomston wa6 
Rev. Alexander Johnston, A.M., who had 
graduated at Aberdeen in 1762. Mr 
Johnston was a native of Buchan, and he 
was licensed by the Presbytery of Deer in 
1768. His call to Gilcomston was dated 
23rd December, 1772, and he was ordained 
to the charge on 3rd March, 1773. He 
stayed, however, only for a short time. 
Gilcomston was only a Chapel of Ease, and 
when Mr. Johnston was offered the parish 
of Monquhitter, in 1776, he accepted the 
appointment, and held it until his death, 
56 years later. He was succeeded at Gil- 
comston by Rev. James Gregory, A.M., of 
Fetteresso, who was also a graduate of 
Aberdeen. He was elected on 20th June, 
1778, and ordained on 5th November fol- 
lowing, and gave 23 years' service to the 
congregation. In this case, again, pro- 
motion was offered, and Gilcomston had to 
yield its minister to a more desirable liv- 
ing. Mr. Gregory was presented to the 
parish of Banchory-Ternan in 1801, and 
having accepted the offer, he demitted the 
charge of Gilcomston. The vacancy which 
was thus occasioned was of short duration. 
for in less than three months it was filled 
by the appointment of one who was de- 
stined not only to acquire fame for him- 
self, but also to raise Gilcomston from the 
comparative obscurity which had hitherto 
been its lot to a position of prominence 
second to none either in the Presbytery or 
the city of Aberdeen. This was none 
other than the celebrated Dr. James Kidd. 
He was no stranger to the congregation 

B 



18 



TllK CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



of Gilcomston, as he had been settled in 
Aberdeen since 1795 as Professor of 
Oriental Languages in Marischal College, 
and he had also acted as evening lecturer 
in Trinity Chapel since 1796. His success 
in the latter capacity and his growing re- 
putation as a preacher led to the call from 
Giloomston Church, which he received on 
14th May, 1801. He was ordained to the 
pastorate on 18th June following, and 
entered then on what proved to be his 
life-work. 

It is impossible, within the present 
limits, to refer, except in the briefest 
possible manner, to Dr. Kidd's life and 
work. His unique personality: his 
eccentric genius, with all his quaint and 
witty sayings and unconventional actions; 
his powerful, vivid, and dramatic oratory 
— have not the traditions of these been 
handed down from one generation to 
another? Much has also been published 
regarding Dr. Kidd — notably the admir- 
able biography by Dr. Stark, in which the 
details of his eventful life are graphically 
recorded. Then, a whole volume might 
almost be filled with stories of the doctor 
— some of them, doubtless, of questionable 
accuracy, but many fully confirmed by 
those who could speak from personal 
knowledge. A selection from the plentiful 
" Kiddiana " in circulation would not 
serve our present purpose. We are con- 
cerned rather with the influence exerted 
by the doctor as minister of Gilcomston 
and with the effect of his work on that 
congregation. 

Dr. Kidd, on his ordination to the 
charge, entered into the duties with char- 
acteristic thoroughness. In addition to 
preaching three times every Sunday, he 
introduced Sunday School work in the 
congregation, and formed a Sunday 
School Association — these innovations be- 
ing regarded with considerable disfavour 
by a certain section of his brethren in 
the ministry. The evening services which 
he introduced proved another bone of con- 
tention. They were attended by immense 
crowds — for Dr. Kidd's popularity as a 
pieaoher was almost unprecedented! in 
Aberdeen — and the collections on these 
occasions were devoted to the relief of the 
poor. Gilcomston, however, was still only 
a Chapel of Ease, and Dr. Kidd's 
ecclesiastical superiors — the two ministers 
of Oldmachar — gave forth the decree that 
the evening preaching was to be stopped. 
The first Sunday after this order was 
issued, the congregation of Gilcomston 
met as usual in the evening, every seat 



being filled^ and even standing-room at a 
premium, ft was expected that Dr. Kidd 
would take lus own way, but his hearers 
were hardly prepared for the adroit move 
by which he carried bis point while sub- 
mitting to the authority of those whom he 
was expected to obey. According to the 
purely legal view in the Church of Scot- 
land, preaching must be done in the pul- 
pit; a minister who officiates outside the 
pulpit cannot be held, in the strictest 
sense of the term, to conduct a service. 
Taking advantage of this, Dr. Kidd, in- 
stead of ascending the pulpit, stepped 
quietly to the precentor's desk, and pro- 
ceeded with the service in the usual 
manner. This continued for several Sun- 




Rev. Dr. Kidd. 

day evenings, until the ministers of Old- 
machar. recognising that they had been 
checkmated, invited the doctor to revert 
to the former order of service. Another 
source of difference of opinion with his 
superiors was in connection with the order 
issued not to mention in public prayers 
the name of Queen Caroline. For his 
refusal to comply. Dr. Kidd was cited to 
appear, and it was on thi6 occasion that 
he silenoed his would-be accusers with tin- 
now famous retort — "Pray for the Queen. 
sir! I have prayed for the Queen, sir, 
and I will pray for the Queen, and for 
you, and for every sinner out of hell!" 
In the last year of the doctor's life and 
ministry the authority of Oldmachar over 



(8) Bust of James Kidd, D.D., [Professor of 
Oriental Lanruages in Marischal College, and 
Minister of Gikomston Established Church 
Aberdeen, for 34 years.] At the back it fceare— 



D. Morison, Sculpt. 

Pubd. by J 

Aber[deen] 
Janv. 182 — 



"TV?,, 



This bust was the gift of the late Sir William 
Henderson of Devanha House, whose wife was 
a granddaughter of Dr Kidd. In 1893, during 
Sir William's provostship, he presented a 
beautiful bust of Dr Kidd to the Aberdeen 
Public Library, and it is now in the Reference 
JDanetcttrumi thar* 



GILCOMSTON CHURCH NEW 
MINISTER, 

INDUCTION OF KEV. JOHN WATT. 

The Presbytery of Aberdeen met in Gileom. 
ston Parish Church last night for the induction 
of the Rev. John Watt, B.A., to the pastorate, 
vacant by the retirement of the Rev. William 
Brebner. There was a large Longrog.jtion, 

The Rev. J. N. Cuthbert, Craigiebueklor, 
moderator, preachod and presided at the induc- 
tion. 

The members of the Presbytery present wevo 
—The Rev Dr C. C. Macdonald, the Rev. Dr 
Wright, Ferryhill; Colonel the Rev. Jamc8 
Smith, St George' s-in-the-West; the Rev. Max- 
well J. Wright, St Ninian's; tho B«v- J- T. 
Cox, Dyco (clerk to the Presbytery) ; the Rev. 
J. A. W. Mulligan, Ruthricston ; tho Rev. J. 
K. Wilkin, Roseniount ; the Rev. G. D. Nisbct, 
John Knox; and the Rev. James Rae, North, 
Associated with the Presbytery were the Rev. 
William Brebner, emeritus minister of G' ! 
ston; the Rev. Robert Nelson, Abboteford, 
Glasgow; and the Rev. William Edgar, Gles 

At the close of tho service the congregation 
had an opportunity of shaking hands with Mr 
Watt, the new minister, who received a hearty 
welcome. fyg /^ 



GILCOMSTON CHURCH. 



Memorial Unveiled by Marquis 
of Aberdeen. 

Gilcomston Parish Church was filled in all 
parts at the forenoon service yesterday, when 
the Marquis of Aberdeen and Temair unveiled 
the memorial which has been placed in the 
church to the memory of those connected with 
the congregation who fell in the war. Tho 
Marquis waa accompanied by Lady Aberdeen. 
Occupying seats in front was a contingent of 
62 men belonging to the congregation who had 
taken part in the war. 

The memorial takes the form of a beautifully 
carved reading desk, inscribed with the narriM 
of the fallen, 64 in number. The desk was 
designed by Mr George Bennett Mitchell, 
architect, and the work wius executed by Messrs 
Martyns, Cheltenham. A Bible for the desk 
was gifted by Mr William Meldrum, one of the 
ciders. 

The Rev. J. Lowr-on MafCun-ach. minister of 
the church, preached an appropriate sermon. 

The Marquis of Aberdeen, in unveiling the 
memorial, eaid— We are engaged in a. solemn 
act of commemoration end dedication, in which 
each and ail of us can fully share. As with tjio 
earliest congregation of Christians, of whom it 
is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that they 
were all of one heart and one soul, so in this 
sacred observance at least we are as one. And, 
speaking as a visitor — might I say as a friend 
and jruest— who deeply appreciates the privilege 
accorded to him of takinsr pnrt in these pro 
ceedings, I venturo to offer the opinion that 
the placing of the memorial within the walls 
of this building, where prayer is wont to b© 
made, Iim a .special mid, indeed obvious appro- 
priateness; but for this reason in particular— 
that it furnishes a recognition, and will always 
be a reminder, of the true character of the cause 
in which those friends' whose names are here in- 
scribed pave up their iives. 

Piper; J. Gr-«£, 6th Gordons, afterwards 
played "The Flowers of the Forest," and a 
bugler sounded the " Last Post." During the 
service Miss Elisabeth Christie, L.R.A.M., 
sang "God shall wipe away all tears," while Mr 
J. Coutts was the soloist in the anthem " I bring 
thee peace," and sung by the choir, with Mr 
John Hutcheson, L.R.A.M., at the organ. 

The Marquis of Aberdeen also took part in 
the evening service. /EL/~^. / !7 J+//& 



GILCOMSTON PARISH CHURCH 



10 



Giloomston came to an end. By an Act 
of the General Assembly in 1834, Gilcora- 
ston was constituted a " quoad sacra 
parish, with power to elect its own kirk- 
session to take control of its own con- 
gregational affairs. Naturally, there was 
great rejoicing on the part of ministers 
of Chapels of Ease at this emancipation. 
Rev. Andrew Gray, of Woodside, had been 
in the same position as the minister of 
Gilcomston, and Mr. Gray remarked, on 
meeting Dr. Kidd after the tidings were 
made known, that he could not help re- 
peating the lines in the 126th Psalm — 

When Zion's bondage God turn'd back. 

As men that dream'd were we; 
Then fill'd with laughter was our mouth, 

Our tongue with melody. 

"Ah!" replied Dr. Kidd, "that's not it, 
man; here is the right thing" — and he 
repeated part of the 129th Psalm — 

The plowers plow'd upon my back ; 

They long their furrows drew, 
The righteous Lord did cut. the cords 

Of the ungodly crew. 

While ever ready thus to assert his own 
independence and maintain the rights of 
Giloomston, Dr. Kidd gave himself with 
unremitting zeal to the duties of his 
pastorate. He went out and in among his 
people, and likewise prepared assiduously 
for the pulpit; and he had the satisfac- 
tion, not only of seeing crowded audiences 
before him Sunday after Sunday, but also 
of witnessing the steady growth of the 
congregation until the membership ex- 
ceeded 2000. When it is considered that 
he performed all the work single-handed, 
and likewise continued to discharge the 
duties of his professorship, it can be seen 
that ho worked at high pressure. Yet he 
bore the strain for 34 years, and continued 
in active service to the very end of his 
life. He died on 24th December, 1834, 
and was buried in St. Nicholas Church- 
yard. On the day of his funeral, work was 
generally suspended in Aberdeen, and the 
whole city mourned. As Dr. Stark has 
well said — " Of all the men associated with 
this region during at least a hundred 
years noted for sterling moral worth and 
power for good over the people, made all 
the more striking by a strong dash of 
eccentricity. Dr. Kidd, it will be generally 
admitted, stands without a peer. Several 
generations have passed away since his 
head was put under the sod, but yet 
amongst native Aberdonians his name is 
as much a household word as ever." 



It. was no easy task to secure a minister 

able to succeed Dr. Kidd at Giloomston — 
to find one equal to filling his place in 
every respect would have been an im- 
possibility. A fortunate selection, how- 
ever, was made by the election of Rev. 
James Bryce, of Wooler, and formerly of 
Stamfordham. Mr. Bryce was inducted at 
Gilcomston on 2nd July, 1835, and he 
carried on the manifold work of the con- 
gregation with marked success until the 
Disruption of 1843, when he resolved to 
cast in his lot with the Free Church. He 
took the bulk of his members along with 
him and founded Gilcomston Free Church, 
his subsequent career being associated 
with the history of that congregation. 
Dr. Bryce (lie received the degree of 
LL.D. from Glasgow University in 1858) 
was a man of considerable talent, and it 
is no mean tribute to his power that he 
was able to gain so great a hold over a 
congregation which had been largely 
drawn together by the remarkable per- 
sonality and gifts of his predecessor. 

Notwithstanding that only the remnant 
of a congregation was left, the Parish 
Church of Gilcomston had another 
minister settled over it before the close of 
the Disruption year. He was a young 
man who was destined in after years to 
be closely associated with the ecclesiastical 
life of Aberdeen, and especially with the 
Parish Church of Oldmachar, which had 
formerly held sway over the affairs of Gil- 
comston. This was Rev. George Jamie- 
son, who was ordained to the charge in 
1843, but he soon accepted the parish of 
Grange, and left Gilcomston before his 
work had time to take much effect. He 
subsequently returned to the city, and 
there was no more familiar figure in 
ecclesiastical circles in Aberdeen in the 
latter part of the nineteenth century than 
Dr Jamieson, of Oldmachar. In 1846, 
Rev. David Milne, A.M., was ordained 
as minister of Gilcomston, and with his 
settlement the congregation entered on a 
long and prosperous pastorate. Mr. 
Milne had held assistants!] ips at Cluny 
and Kincardine O'Neil, and he soon 
proved himself a competent and success- 
ful minister. He preached entirely with- 
out manuscript, even when he reached an 
advanced age, and this was a great recom- 
mendation in those days. In pastoral and 
parochial work also he was diligent and 
efficient, and under his guiding hand the 
congregation soon regained something of 
its former glory. To Mr. Milne un- 
doubtedly there must be given the credit 

B 2 



•20 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



of restoring Gilcomston to the high point 
in numbers which it has never since lost. 
Towards the close of his ministry, the 
church was subjected to a large and im- 
portant scheme of enlargement and im- 
provement, which resulted in providing 
the congregation with what was 




Rev. William Brebner, M.A. 

practically a new building. After 30 years 
of active work, Mr. Milne applied for the 
appointment of a colleague and successor, 
and in 1876 the present minister was ap- 
pointed to that position. Mr. Milne con- 
tinued to manifest a keen interest in the 
work of the church until his death ; and 
his memory is perpetuated by the Milne 
Fund, which provides an annual sum of 
nearly £200 for the relief of deserving 
poor in Gilcomston Parish. 

Rev. William Brebner, M.A., who has 
held the sole pastorate since Mr. Milne's 



death, i<s a native of Tarland, and a 
graduate of Aberdeen University. On 
completing his college course; he was ap- 
pointed assistant to Rev. J. W. King, 
Kilpatrick, Glasgow, where he laboured 
until he was elected to Gilcomston. Mr. 
Brebner, unlike some of his predecessors, 
is in no sense a prominent public per 
sonage. He is rarely, if ever, seen en 
public platforms ; his voice is aeldo«n 
heard in the Church courts; and the 
affairs of the general community evidently 
do not appeal to him. He might say, like 
one of old, " I dwell among mine own 
people." To the work of Gilcomston 
Church he has applied himself with un- 
divided interest, carrying it on all these 
years without an assistant, and maintain- 
ing the congregation both in size and 
efficiency. Various developments have 
also taken place during his ministry. In 
1878, soon after his settlement, a com- 
plete restoration of the church was made 
at a cost of £4000, which gave the con- 
gregation a place of worship with modern 
appointments. In 1888-9 the fine suite 
of halls was built and opened, and in 1897 
a handsome pipe organ was installed in 
the church. There are the usual organisa- 
tions and agencies in connection with the 
congregation, such as the Sunday School, 
with 400 to 500 scholars and a staff of 40 
teachers ; Young Men's Fellowship As- 
sociation, Working Party, etc. 

Gilcomston Church has a congregation 
almost entirely composed of the working 
classes. It includes, however, a number of 
well-known citizens, such as Mr. W 
Stewart Thomson, Mr. John T. Sorlej, 
advocate; Mr. James A. Roes, harbour 
treasurer; Mr Robert Burnett, of the 
Civil Service Institute; and others. The 
congregation pursues its work quietly. 
making no particular stir either in the city 
or the denomination. Yet. notwithstand- 
ing the changes in the locality and the rise 
of new and densely-populated districts on 
every side, the church may still bo spoken 
of as '' a eitv set on an hill." 



' The new Communion Ta.bla a no' Pfcptiexml j 
Font, dedicated in (J i looms ton Parish Church., 
or; Sunday, will be in their way an flbidingJ-J 

aortal of tho energetic min'stry of the Rer. 
John Will*. <v his initiative the move- 

ment was 'st^Pld and through liiio the offers, 
mde. S.-on after his irjdnetnon at j 

Qilcometon, Mr Watt pointed out from ih<*i 
pulpit thai the church had neither Table nor" 
)'"<iiit. ti?i<l he asked eome member or membemi 
to immortalise themselves by becoming dooon» 
of the necessary articles. Within a week h» 
had the offer of both. 

■»♦♦♦» 

The Communion Table is tbe gitt of art, 
offioe-taparer, Mr Alexander Rattray, boilder, 
1 Rose Street, and the Baptismal Font has been, 
presented by Mr arxl Mrs firskioe M. Aird. 
Before their Tecent removal to Glasgow, Mr 
and Mrs Aird were members of Gucomstoa, 
and both had a hereditary connection -with the 
congregation. Mr Aird's aurrt, the lafce Mies 
MaodonaJd, in 'whose memory the Font hau 
been gifted, was at one time a very aetrve 
worker in the church, and Mrs Aird's mother, j 
Mrs Gray, the widow of a well-known Aber-' 
deen journalist, wag treasurer of th9 Ledien*' 
Work Party for man- years, trad] she went^ 
recently to reside at Bridge of Allan. 

7-rf-/?/^ ♦»■♦♦♦ ^^L 



VI.— GREYFRIARS PARISH CHURCH. 




Old Greyfriars Parish Church. 



The origin of this church is a matter of 
ancient history. As its name implies, it 
belonged originally to the Grey Friars, a 
religious community after the order of St. 
Francis, which was settled in the Gallow- 
gate district, while the Carmelite and 
Trinity Friars were to be found in the 
Green, and the Black Friars in Wool man- 
hill. Their convent at Aberdeen was 
founded in 1471, but the Greyfriars Church 
was not built until half a century later, 
Bishop Gavin Dunbar being mainly instru- 
mental in securing its erection. At the 
Reformation it changed hands. On 29th 
December, 1559, the Friars, in view of im- 
pending trouble, handed over the property 
to the magistrates and Town Council, and 
for the next few years it was put to various 
uses. By a charter obtained from James 
VI. in 1567, the entire possessions of the 
Friars were acquired by the town for the 
support of a public hospital and asylum for 
orphans and destitute children. The pro- 
posed institution, however, was never 
erected, and in 1576 the property, with the 
exception of the church, was sold to 
three citizens for the consideration of 
the annual feu-duty. In 1593 it was 
again purchased by the magistrates, and 
presented by them to George, Earl 
Marischal, for the site of the college he 
proposed to establish. 

In all these bargainings the church 
itself had been of little importance, 
and it was allowed to lie for several 
years in a state of utter neglect. 
In 1600 it was " ordert to bo re- 
pairt " by the authority of the council, 
and pews were fitted up at the expense of 



the inhabitants. Afterwards a gallery was 
erected for the magistrates, on whom the 
right of patronage was conferred by Charles 
I. in 1638. A notable event in the his- 
tory of the church occurred in 1640. 
Within its walls there met the famous 
General Assembly of that year when those 
ministers and professors who had refused 
to sign the Covenant were summoned to 
the bar. The next important stage was 
reached in 1644, when Sir Thomas Crombie 
of Kemnay left an endowment for a 
minister for Greyfriars. The money thus 
secured was added to the stipend of the 
Professor of Divinity in Marischal College, 
who became nominally the minister of 
Greyfriars, while he was at the same time 
one of the colleague ministers of the 
Church of St. Nicholas. In 1738, Grey- 
friars Church was again repaired, and 
when the increasing population of the 
town necessitated the provision of more 
accommodation than could be found in the 
East and West Churches, the Magistrates 
and Town Council appointed a preacher 
or catechist to conduct regular services in 
Greyfriars. A large scheme of alterations 
was carried out in 1768. The church was 
reduced in length nearly 20 feet at the 
north end for the purpose of enlarging 
the entrance to Marischal College, the 
small spire which appears in Parson 
Gordon's view of Aberdeen was removed, 
new scats were fitted up, and an aisle and 
gallery constructed on the east side for 
the accommodation of the professors and 
students of the college. In 1759, Grey- 
friars was formally recognised as a Chapel 
of Ease. A curious arrangement in force 



22 



THE CiTURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



at one time in connection with the ap- 
pointment of preachers or catechists was 
that the persons presented to the position 
by the magistrates received no fixed salary 
from the town, but as a consideration for 
their services they were allowed to let the 
sittings of the church and to draw the 
rents arising therefrom. This might be 
regarded as rather a precarious means of 
subsistence, although in the case of 
popular preachers the arrangement was 
found to work well. In one case the 
church was leased from the Town Council 
for the sum of £20 a year, but the young 
preacher was a man of popular gifts, and 
he soon filled the church, and made a good 
Living for himself after paying the stipu- 
lated rent. When the division of St. 
Nicholas parish took place in 1828, Grey- 
friars became one of the city parishes, and 
the minister thereafter received a fixed 
stipend, the seat rents being drawn by the 
Town Council. 

At this point in the narrative reference 
may be made to the various clergymen who 
were associated with the church up to the 
date of its erection to the status of a 
parish. The first on the list is Rev. 
Robert Baron, A.M., whose name appears 
in 1624, and who afterwards took an 
active share in opposing the signing of the 
Covenant by the citizens. He was fol- 
lowed by Rev. John Forbes, D.D., in 1038, 
Rev. James Wood in 1644, and Rev. John 
Menzies in 1649. Mr. Menzies was one of 
the leading protestors in 1651, and in 1654 
he was summoned to London by Cromwell- 
Rev. Patrick Sibbald, D.D., succeeded Mr. 
Menzies in 1685, but he was deposed at 
the Revolution. Next in order came Rev. 
James Osborne in 1697, Rev. Thomas 
Blackwell (father of Principal Blackwell of 
Marischal College) in 1711, Rev. James 
Chalmers (father of the founder of the 
" Aberdeen Journal ") in 1728, Rev. Robert 
Pollock in 1745 (also at the same time 
Principal of Marischal Colh-ge), Rev. 
Alexander Gerrard, A.M., in 1769 (Pro- 
fessor of Moral Philosophy in Marischal 
College, and Moderator of the General 
Assembly in 1764), Rev. George Campbell, 
D.D., in 1771 (at the same time Principal 
of Marischal College), and Rev. William 
Laurence Brown, D.D., in 1795. Dr. 
Laurence Brown, who, like several of his 
predecessors, held the Principalship of 
Marischal College in conjunction with his 
position as minister of Greyfriars, was a 
man widely esteemed and highly honoured. 
He was appointed one of His Majesty's 
Chaplains-in-Ordinary in 1800, and Dean 
of the Order of the' Thistle in 1803. Dr. 



Brown demitted office in 1828, and died in 
1830 at a good old age. Of him it has been 
said that i: besides great talents and ac- 
quirements, he possessed many excellent 
personal qualities. With some warmth of 
temper, he was open, sincere, and generous, 
with an unbounded liberality towards hi6 
fellow-creatures." As an author he was 
also widely known in his day. 

Turning now to those who held the office 
of preacher or oatechist, and who came 
more directly in contact with the life and 
work of the church, we find some well- 
known names. The first was Rev. Alex- 
ander Gall, who held the appointment from 
1759 to 1771, when he was succeeded by 
Rev. Alexander Mearns, afterwardb 
minister of Towie. Rev. James Hogg, 
A.M., succeeded Mr. Mearns in 1778, but 
he was promoted to the parish of Skene 
in 1787. From 1791 to 1805 Rev. James 
Shand, A.M., officiated, and on his de- 
parture for Marykirk, Rev. James Paull, 
A.M., became his successor. Mr Paull 
was very popular at Greyfriars, and there 
was general regret when he left in 1813 on 
being presented to the parish of Tully- 
nessle and Forbes. For about one year 
Rev. George Glennie. A.M.. held the 
appointment along with that of the Pro- 
fessorship of Moral Philosophy in Marischal 
College, but he resigned on being promoted 
to the West Church. Rev. Daniel Dewar 
succeeded to the vacancy at Greyfriars in 
1814, and to the professorship in 1817. He 
proved a man of great force, and became 
highly popular and influential. His re- 
putation spread far beyond the city ot 
Aberdeen, and in 1819 he was invited to 
the Tron Church, Glasgow, to succeed Dr. 
Chalmers. Seven years later he returned 
to Aberdeen to become Principal of 
.Marischal College, and the name ot 
Principal Daniel Dewar became very 
familiar in the city. As a preacher. Dr. 
Dewar was for a time the most popular 
man in Aberdeen, and no more eloquent 
sj>eaker was heard in his day. From the 
outset he was prominently identified with 
the evangelical party, and. alike in 
Presbytery. Synod, and Assembly, he posed 
as one of its leaders. In all the conflict 
which led up to the Disruption, Dr. Dewar 
took a leading position in his party, and if 
anyone was expected to adhere to his 
principles it was this fearless champion. 
Yet. when the critical hour came, he 
failed to ait along with those whom he had 
encouraged and led forward in the move- 
ment. The result was that he lost to a 
large extent his influence with both 
sections. His followers, who went out 



GREYFRIARS PARISH CHURCH 



23 



and joined the Free Church, naturally re- 
garded him with feelings akin to contempt, 
while his brethren in the Established 
Church looked upon him a-s a retrograde 
and unworthy of their respect. After the 
Disruption, he never preached in any of 
the city churches. On one occasion Dr. 
Simon Mackintosh, of the East Church, 
had arranged for him to preach on the 
evening of a Communion Sunday. This, 
however, had come to the knowledge of 
the elders, who at once intimated to Dr. 
Mackintosh that if Dr. Dowar entered 
the pulpit they would resign office in a 
body. Dr. Dewar was the la6t Principal 
of Marischal College, which in 1860 was 
united with King's College in forming the 
University of Aberdeen. 

In 1819 Rev. Andrew Tawse, A.M., was 
elected preacher at Greyfriars, and on 
his removal to Logie-Coldstone, the 
position was filled by the appointment of 
Rev. Abercromby L. Gordon, who Avas 
destined to play an important part in the 
religious life of the city for many years. 
When the division of parishes was 
arranged in 1828, Mr. Abercromby 
Gordon became the first minister of the 
parish of Greyfriars. He was a man of 
rare powers, of lofty character, full of 
evangelical fervour, and zealous for the 
interests of the church. His own 
congregation were deeply attached to 
him, and he became well-known in the 
city through his interest in various 
evangelical movements, in which be 
cordially co-operated with his brethren 
both of his own and other denominations. 
In church extension work he took a 
special pleasure, and it was largely 
through his instrumentality that John 
Knox Parish Church was founded. 

At the memorable Disruption of 1843, 
Greyfriars shared the fate of the other 
parish churches in the city. Its minister 
" went out," carrying almost the entire 
congregation along with him, and Mr. 
Abercromby Gordon's subsequent career 
was associated with Greyfriars Free 
Church, of which he became the founder. 
Only one elder — Mr. George Thomson — was 
left in the parish church, but the Presby- 
tery appointed several elders from other 
churches to complete a kirk-session, and 
arrangements were made for continuing 
the services. For a considerable time the 
attendances were very meagre, and it was 
nearly a year after the Disruption before 
steps were taken to secure a settled 
minister. On '25th April, 1844, Rev. 
Archibald F. Stewart, from Craignish 



Parish, Inveraray, was inducted to the 
charge of Greyfriars, but his pastorate 
proved a short one. The whole aspect 
of affaire was discouraging, and Mr. 
Stewart gave up the struggle in about a 
year. In May, 1845, he demitted his 
charge, and was afterwards settled at 
Aberfoyle. 

Another and a longer vacancy ensued. 
Occasional supply was obtained, and the 
work of the church was carried on, but 
it was not until 17th September, 1846, 
that a new minister was inducted. On 
that date Rev. William Robinson Pirie, 
D.D., one of the Professors of Divinity, 
was formally settled in the pastorate, 
which he held conjointly with his 
University chair. Under Dr. Pirie the 
congregation began to increase, and re- 
gain at least some semblance of its 
former prosperity. Just as things were 
beginning to mend, however, Professor 
Pine tendered his resignation, owing, it 
is said, to the feeling in the church 
against the principle of plural positions. 
Although his official connection with the 
congregation ended on 27th October, 1847, 
he continued to give it the benefit of his 
services both in the pulpit and otherwise 
until the election of a sucessor eleven 
months later. Dr. Pirie in his later 
career as Principal of Aberdeen Uni- 
versity, Moderator of the General 
Assembly, and one of the most powerful 
ecclesiastics of his day, was much before 
the public, and his name became a house- 
hold word. 

On 13th September, 1848, Rev. David 
M'Taggart, D.D., from Carlow, Ireland, 
was inducted as minister of Greyfriars. 
Dr. M'Taggart had officiated in the 
church on various occasions during the 
vacancy, and he seems to have made an 
impression from the first. There were 
always good congregations when he was 
announced to preach, and after his 
formal settlement the empty pews were 
soon filled. The membership of the 
church rapidly increased, and now, for 
the first time since the Disruption, Grey- 
friars became a great and strong congre- 
gation. Dr. M'Taggart was undoubtedly 
the most popular preacher in the city in 
his day. He attracted hearer9 from all 
denominations, and so dense were the 
congregations that policemen were re- 
quired sometimes to regulate the crowds 
inside the church, especially at the seat- 
lotting. In addition to possessing at- 
tractive pulpit gifts, he was noted as a 
constant visitor amongst his people. Re- 



24 



THE CHUliCHES OF ABERDEEN 



ferring to Dr. M'Taggart, Mr. Carnie 
writes in his " Reminiscences " — " I ain 
not sure that we had amongst us a more 
distinct speaker, every word seemed to 
be followed by a hyphen. Small in 
stature, he went quietly along the streets, 
looking sideways through his spectacles, 
mostly to the ground." Not only were 
crowds drawn to Greyfriars, but many 
citizens of influence were led to associate 
themselves with the congregation, and 
when Dr. M'Taggart was translated to 
St. James's Parish, Glasgow, he left_ be- 
hind him very visible fruits of his eight 
years' work in Aberdeen. 

The vacancy at Greyfriars was filled by 
the apointment of Rev. James Smith, 
M.A., of Ladhope Parish, Selkirk, whose 
induction to the charge took place on 17th 
December, 1857. Mr. Smith was a man 
of fervent evangelical zeal, and from the 
outset of his ministry in Aberdeen he 
took an active part in every religious 
movement in the city. Greyfriars be- 
came the scene of great meetings, which 
were addressed by many of the most 
famous evangelists of the day, such a6 
Brownlow North, Reginald Radcliffe, Hay 
Macdowell Grant, Baptist Noel, and many 
others. Mr. Smith's action in connection 
with these gatherings, however, did not 
commend itself to some of his own con- 
gregation, nor to several of his brethren 
in the ministry. Objection was taken in 
his kirk-session to laymen being allowed 
to preach from the pulpit, and a keen 
agitation followed. The matter went 
before the Presbytery, and ultimately it 
reached the General Assembly, but not- 
withstanding decisions virtually condemn- 
ing Mr. Smith's attitude, he continued to 
take pretty much his own way. Some 
time after, he received a hearty call to 
Ellon Parish Church, where he sub- 
sequently laboured with much acceptance. 
During his ministry of five years ;>t 
Greyfriars, Mr. Smith left a deep mark 
alike on the congregation and the -om- 
munity. These years were full of 
contention, but they were also full of 
earnest work directed to lofty aims, and 
lasting in its effects. Mr. Smith was an 
able and eloquent preacher. He spoke 
out of the depths of his own experience, 
and his words had all the power of earnest 
sincerity. He has been described as a 
couthie, plain man, paying little heed to 
conventionalities in regard to dresfi, 
determined in his way, and able to fight 
his own battle in the Presbytery, even 
against its leaders. Hi6 outstanding 



characteristic, however, was his evan- 
gelical zeal, and it is by his services on 
behalf of evangelical religion in Aberdeen 
that he is best remembered to-day. 

Mr. Smith was succeeded in the parish 
of Greyfriare by Kev. Joseph Henderson, 
M.A., of the Abbey Church, Arbroath, 
who was inducted to the charge on 16th 
April, 1863. Mr. Henderson was of a 
different type from either of his two 
immediate predecessors. Perhaps he may 
have been less outstanding in personality 
and gifts, but he proved a capable 
minister, and for many years succeeded in 
keeping together the large congregation 
gathered by them. Quiet and methodical 
in his work, he devoted himself almost 
exclusively to the interests of the parish. 
For the long period of eighteen yeare he 
continued in active duty, but a serious 
illness led to his application in 1881 for 
the appointment of an assistant and suc- 
cessor. The choice of the congregation 
fell on Rev. William Oliver, Aberdeeu, 
who had frequently officiated during Mr. 
Henderson's illness, and had also assisted 
otherwise. Mr. Oliver was ordained on 
1st September. 1881, and on the death ot 
Mr. Henderson on 1st April, 1882, he be- 
came sole minister of the parish. Hi6 
career, which opened auspiciously, was 
destined to be a short one. Four years and 
a half after his ordination his pastorate 
was cut .short by his death, which occurred 
on 5th April. 1886. 

The vacancy thus occasioned was filled 
by the appointment of the predent 
minister of Greyfriare, Rev. Gordon J. 
Murray, B.D., whose settlement took 
place on 1st September, 1886. A native 
of Morayshire, Mr. Murray graduated 
both in Arts and Divinity at Aberdeen 
University, taking the B.D. degree with 
honours, and carrying off the Brown 
Scholarship as the first man of his year 
in the Divinity Hall. In 1882, three 
months after being licensed, he was 
appointed assistant and second minister in 
the Parish Church of Arbroath. There 
he laboured with acceptance until his re- 
moval to Aberdeen in 1886. 

Within a few years of Mr. Murray's 
settlement the congregation of Greyfriars. 
in view of the unsatisfactory condition < f 
the church fabric and the lack of com- 
fortable accommodation, found it neces- 
sary to approach the Town Council with 
a 'request that something should he 
done. I his hegan what proved to 

be a very involved and often acrid 
controversy between the congregation, 



UREYRRL4RS PARISH CHURCH 



25 



the Town Council, and the University, 
which agitated the general public of Aber- 
deen for nearly thirteen years. The 
congregation first appealed to the Town 
Council in 1890, and after the negotia- 
tions had passed through various phases, 
an Act of Parliament was obtained in 
1893 for the erection of a new church in 
connection with the extension of the 
University buildings. 

A troublesome disputation then took 
place as to the terms of carrying out the 
Act. According to the agreement, the 
Town Council were to cede to the Uni- 
versity the site of the old church on 
condition that, in return, another site 
at the top of Longacre, facing Broad 
Street, should be provided for the 
new church. A period of five years 
was allowed by the Act for the 
erection of the church on the new site, 
but at the end of that time nothing had 
been done. A movement, strongly sup- 
ported by antiquarians, had by this time 
arisen in favour of the retention and 
restoration of the old church ; and the 
Town Council, encouraged by the gen- 
erous otter of a " munificent donor " 
(£1U,UUU), resolved, with the consent 
of ail parties, to adopt this scheme 
instead. Some time after, however, 

this resolution was rescinded, and 
matters were then at a deadlock, 
the Town Council declining to restore the 
old church, and the University declining 
to give up the site purchased under il;e 
Act for the new church'. Thus the weary 
controversy dragged on, until at last 
redress was sought by the Church 
authorities in the Court of Session. The 
outcome of the situation was that after 
prolonged negotiations the Town Council 
passed over to the University for the inn- 
pose of allowing the proposed extensions 
to proceed, not only the site of the (id 
church, but also the suggested site for 
the new one at the corner of Longacre, 
and acquired another site at the junction 
of Broad Street and Queen Street. 
There the present handsome church — de- 
signed by Mr. A. Marshall Mackenzie, 
A. U.S. A., architect, Aberdeen was 

erected at a cost, inclusive of the gifts of 
the congregation, but exclusive of 6ite, of 
£13,000. The site cost about £10,000, but 
was really a gift to the University as al- 
ready explained. The architecture of the 
edifice and the beautiful spire are in 
keeping with the extended University 
buildings, of which the church forms the 
south-west corner. 



The closing services in the old 
church were conducted on .Friday, 
13th March, 1903, by Kev. Dr. John 
Hunter, then minister of the King's 
Weigh-House Church, London (a son c f 
the congregation), and on the following 




Greyfriars Parish Church. 

Sunday by the Very Rev. Principal 
Lang and kev. Professor \V . P. Paterson, 
ul the University, and [lev. Gordon J. 
Murray, minister of the congregation. 
The congregation worshipped for six 
months after leaving the old church in 
the Mitchell Hall of the University, where 
the Communion was celebrated on the 
last Sunday of March. The demolition 
of old Greyfriars was deeply regretted by 



20 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



many, and those with antiquarian, tastes 
made no effort to conceal their chagrin 
and indignation that Aberdeen permitted 
the destruction of a building so unique 
and of so great historic value. With its 
removal there passed away the only pre- 
Reformation Church existing in the city. 
Round it there clung the traditions cf 
centuries, and its walls were fragrant with 
memories of the past. 

The new church was opened for public 
worship on 2nd September, 1903, the 
preacher on the occasion being the Right 
Rev. Dr. Gillespie, of Mouswald, then 




Rev. Goidc 



rray, B.D. 



Moderator of the General Assembly. 
The work of the congregation has pro- 
spered in the new building, practically 
every sitting being let. The membership, 
which was between 800 and 900 at the 
beginning of the present ministry in 1886, 
now stands at 1300 — a great increase in 
spite of the vicissitudes and years of 
unsettlement through which the congre- 
gation passed. 

Mr. Gordon Murray, in addition to 
having fought with tenacity the battle 
of the Greyfriars Church, has taken a 
very large snare in outside public work. 
In the School Board election of 1894 he 
was returned at the top of the poll, and 



from that time onwards he has been one 
of the mast prominent members of the 
board. In hi6 first triennium he wa6 
appointed convener of the Even.ug 
Schools Committee: from 1897 to 1900 he 
was convener of the High Schools Com- 
mittee, and in 1900 he became convener 
of the Administration Committee. In 
1906 he was elected chairman of the 
School Board, and in that honourable and 
important position he distinguished him- 
self by his dignity and efficiency and his 
thorough ability as an educationist and 
administrator. Mr. Murray'6 work as ; n 
educationist has not been confined to the 
School Board alone. He is one of the 
representatives of the board on the Milne 
Bequest, a member of the Burgh Com- 
mittee on Secondary Education, and was 
elected a member of the Committee on 
the training of Teachers. For several 
trienniums he represented the min- 
isters of the city churches as a Gov- 
ernor of Kobert Gordon's College. As 
a member of the General Council of rh<! 
University, he has served on the Ordin- 
ances and Business Committees. In the 
work of the Church Courts he has like- 
wise taken his share, acting in the 
Presbytery for a number of years as 
convener of the Sunday Schools Committee, 
and for over fourteen years as Convener 
of the Examining Committee. Such 
a record of public work, in addition 
to the duties of a heavy parish, has meant 
a severe burden, but Mr. Murray has n«.t 
failed under it. A man of energy and 
vigour, gifted with excellent business 
capabilities, he ha6 taken a thorough 
grasp of all affairs coming under his 
control, and has always been able to form 
his own independent judgment, and !<■ 
defend it tenaciously. In public work he 
has become a force to be reckoned with. 

In the course of its history Greyfriars 
Church has had many noted citizens 
associated with it from time to time. 
Professor William M'Gillivray, Dr. 
William Pirrie, Professor of Surgery 
Mr. Robert Johnston, Mr. William 
Duguid, Mr. James Collie, Rev. Daniel 
Baxter, MA. ; Mr. Alex. Flockart. 
advocate: Mr. George Read, ironmonger 
(father of Sir George Reid) ; Mr. John 
Macaldowie, Mr. W. Leslie Thomson, 
shipowner : Mr. James Cocker, nursery- 
man ; Mr. Alexander Donald, wood 
merchant: and Mr. John Johnston, 
chemist, all served at various times as 
elders in the congregation, and their 
names may be taken as representative. 







Dr G-ordon Murray baa lost a brother by the 
ideath of trie Rev. Robert Murray, of Williams- 
town, Victoria. The late Mr Murray was at 
^ first engaged in teaching and tutorial -work after 
x \ going to Austalia, but for many years he had 
been an earnest and faithful minister in an im- 
portant sphere. In all public movements he 
look an active part, and a remanfcable feature of j 
his funeral was the fraternising 1 of the ministers 
of the different churches — Roman Catholic and 
Episcopalians attending the memorial service I 
and following his remains to the grave. 
♦ ♦♦♦♦ 



ii X 



«4 



i 



GREYFRIARS PARISH CHURCH 



27 



In the general body of the membership 
there have also been respected and dis- 
tinguished members of the community, 
while not a few sons of the congregation 
have risen to eminence in various walks 
of life, the most outstanding perhaps 
being Sir George Reid and Rev. Dr. John 
Hunter. The kirk-session of to-day in- 
cludes a body of eapahle elders, one of the 
most prominent being Mr. A. G. Wallace, 
M.A., headmaster of the Central Higher 
Grade School. The present membership 
is a thoroughly mixed one, representative 
of all classes in the community, and drawn 
from neai'ly every quarter of the city. 

Greyfriars has not now that close 
association with the University which 
characterised its early history, when the 



students and professors each Sunday 
crossed the quadrangle to the college 
gallery for the service in the College 
Kirk. Yet, the new building, like the 
old, stands under the shadow of the Uni- 
versity, and practically within its 
precincts, and the poet's vision of 
another similar conjunction may here be 
realised — 

" Kirk and College keeping time, 
Faith and Learning chime for chim©." 

May the new Greyfriars, which has 
inherited the traditions of centuries that 
are past, stand for centuries yet to come, 
and gather around it associations that 
shall cause the glory of its latter days to 
eclipse the glory of the former: 




Interior, Old Greyfriars Parish Church. 






VII.— HOLBURN PARISH CHURCH. 




Holburn Palish Church. 

The origin of this congregation may be 
said to have been primarily due to a divi- 
sion of opinion in Gilcomston Church over 
the election of a successor to Dr. Kidd. A 
large number of the members of that 
church "hived off," and as the Church 
Extension Movement was then stirring the 
country, the seceding party had no diffi- 
culty in securing ample aid from the Exten- 
sion Fund, which enabled them to proceed 
at once with the erection of a church. 

Holburn Church was built in 183G. The 
promoters of the enterprise may have had 
little fondness for architectural beauty, but 
they had evidently been determined that, 
although the building might be plain, it 
should be thoroughly substantial. It is a 
massive structure, and practical men who 
have had to do with the various improve- 
ments and alterations carried out from 
time to time have not hesitated to declare 
that Holburn may be standing intact when 
some more pretentious ecclesiastical edifices 
have ceased to be. The situation of the 
church was well chosen. For many years 
Holburn Kirk and " Baubie Law" were 
landmarks in the city: now the kirk alone 
remains. 

The first minister of the church was a 
young licentiate of high character and 
amiable disposition, but he did not alto- 
gether succeed in keeping the members to- 
gether, and resigned after a year or two. 

Rev. William Mitchell, who was inducted 



to the charge in 1838, was a native of 
Alyth, and he had been employed as a mis- 
sionary and preacher in Chapelshade 
Church, Dundee. He was an able and 
vigorous preacher, and soon gathered a 
large and attached congregation. At 
the Disruption of 1843 he took sides 
with the seceding section, and carried 
almost his entire congregation into the 
Free Church. The state of affairs may be 
indicated by the fact that on the first Sun- 
day on which worship was held in the 
Parish Church after the Disruption, the 
collection amounted to the munificent sum 
of ljd. By and bye, however, a congrega- 
tion was got together again, and in 1844 
the pastorate was filled by Rev. Alexander 
Ross, who later on was translated to Dun- 
nichen. He was succeeded in 1850 by an- 
other Mr. Mitchell, who afterwards became 
well known as the Rev. John Mitchell, of 
St, Fergus. The next minister was the 
gifted Rev. George Henry, a young man of 
exceptional promise, who died soon after 
his induction. He was followed in 18-57 by 
the Rev. Alexander Gray, but after eight 
months he left for Strichen, thereafter re- 
moving to Auchterless, where he spent a 
long ministry, and became known all over 
Scotland as an ideal country minister, 
whose " Talks with Farm Servants" reveal 
< \<n in their published form something of 
his genius in dealing with the class from 
which he sprang. Dr. Gray spent the 
closing years of hi- life in Aberdeen, where 
he was regarded with mingled love and 
veneration by all who knew him. A 
ministry of sixteen years, from 1858 to 
1874, by Rev. John "Milne brought the 
church down to the year 1^74. when the 
present respected incumbent, Rev. Dr. 
M'Clymont, was ordained and inducted to 
the charg 

Many men of note were connected with 
Holburn in bygone days. The precentor 
for home time before th< Disruption was 
the father ol the late Dr. Reith. founder of 
the Porthill School, and of the Rev. Dr. 
Reith, of the College I'.F. Church. Glas- 
gow. Dr. Walter C. Smith, the poet- 
preacher of the Free Church, wae also con- 
nected with the church in pro-Disruption 
days. When the great cleavage took place 
in 1813. one of the leading men who re- 
fused to go out was Mr. .lames Edmond, 
advocate, a brother of Dr. Francis 



si//, a-je . 



&x* 







HoSburn Church Vacancy. 

CALL TO REv7w7h. LEATHEM 
SUSTAINED, £^ 

— — -><. /fr'j'J 

The Pnasbvtery of St Andrews met yester- 
day in tho Session House of the Town Church, 
St Andrews, when the appointment - of ths 
Rev. William Harvey Leathern-, ministei- of 
the second charge, St Andrews, to bo minister 
c>f th»; church and pariah of '.Holburn, Aber- 
dee-i, wan considered and dealt with. The 
Rev. John Middlcton, Kembaoh, was mode- 
rator. The Aberdeen Commissioners present 
were— the Rev. Maxwell J. Wright, M.A., St 
Nihian's Parish Church, ropreaonting the 
Presbytery: and Baillic Taggart. Mr Alex- 
ander Sands, advocate, and Chief Constable 
>or., ifpiosenting Holburn congregation. 
Tlic St Andrews congregation was represented 
by Profcesor Lawson, Mr U. Bayne Meldrum, 
Mr George Louden. Mr D. C. Mackie, and 
I Mr J. Morris. The various communications 
j were laid on the table. The Aberdeen Pres- 
bytery had been satisfied that thero waft . no 
caueo to decline or delay the appointment of 
Mr Leathern, and had sustained it. 

An Unanimous Opinion. 

Thi' Rev. Mr Wright said that as a. Com- 
missioner from Aberdeen Presbytery he ap- 
peared U> prosecute the call to and translation 
of Mr Leathern to the parish of Ho&um. He 
had .along with him BailLie Taggart, convener 
of the Congregational Committee, Chief Con- 
stable Anderson, tho vico-ooDvener, amd Mr 
Sands, tho session oierk. Their reasons for 
asking St Andrews Presbytery to relieve Mr 
Leathern from his present important charge 
were very strong. They in St Andrews were 
aware that he was discharging hie duties n 
St Andrews to 'their satisfaction, with dastiric- 
tion to liimeelf, and with benefit to the 
congregation. It had always been the prac- 
tice in the Church to translate a minister who 
lied been unanimosly called to a charge, and 
who had accepted the call. As moderator dar- 
ing the vacancy at Holoum, and gb president 
at bite' election at which Mr 

Leathern was chosen, be could assure 
them, and be could also assure Mr Leathern, 
that from, the time his name was first brought 
forward, the Congregational Committee had 
never waverfxl in their opinion that in Mr 
Leathern they had found a gentleman well 
suited to succeed the distinguished member of 
the Church of Scotland who bad been for so 
long minister of Holburn. 

After Mr Leathern had preached in Holburn 
Church it was quite evident that the congrega- 
tion was prepared to endorse with great en- 
thusiasm the selection made by the committee. 
The poll ehowed that tho committee had carried 
out the congregation's intentions — 444 bad voted 
for, and only 14 against. He really believed 
that these 14 had voted on the conscientious 
prnciplo that, a loot, should have been presented 
to them. Mr Wright dwolt at eome length on 
the wide .sphere of usefulness open to Mr 
Leathern in Aberdeen, where he would have 
sole charge of a congregation of 1900. In eon- 



cluding, Mr Wright expressed gratification at 
again appearing before the Presbytery at whose 
hands he had received his licence nearly 32 
year;, ago. It seemed strange that the occasion 
should be one on w*ich he should try to take 
away from them a minister who -occupied, the 
same charge as the gentleman who wna his 
minister during his boyhood. 

A Larger Sphere. 

Professor Lawson said he appeared as a 
member of St Andrews Kirk-Session. It was 
with mingled feelings that he loarned that a 
most -excellent member of their body was being 
called to a larger sphere of usefulness with 
such heartiness and enthusiasm. The members 
i of the St Andrews congregation, present were i 
' not there to oppose the translation. When a 
minister had done all parts of his work with the 
highest ability and great conscientiousness, they i 
oould not oppose his leaving for a larger sphere 
of usefulness. They therefore wished Mr 
Leathern God-speed in the work he was about 
to enter upon. 

Mr Bayne Meldrum, Mr D. C. Mackde, and 
Mr G. Louden also spoke in laudatory terms of 
Mr Leathern. 

Baiuie Taggart, Aberdeen, referred to tho 
unanimity of the call. There were 60 members 
of a committee, and there was not a dissentient 
voice amongst them. All were enthHsiasticalty 
in favour of tho call. He assured Mr Leathern 
of a very hearty welcome to Holburn. 

Mr Leathern said he had been greatly touched 
by the kind words that had been spoken, both 
by the representatives from Aberdeen and of 
St Andrews. With tho approval of the Pres- 
bytery he intended to accept the calL The fact 
that tho call came unsought made a strong ap- 
peal to him. It brought a greater responsibuitj 
and certain, fears with it. He referred to the 
happy relations that had existed between bim 
and Dr Playfair, minister of the firet charge, 
from whom he had learned a great deal in the 
organisation of parish work. Ho parted with 
great regret from a congregation from whom 
he had received every kindness. 

Mt Turnbull, clerk to the Presbytery, moved 
that the request of the Aberdeen Presbytery b© 
acceded to, and the Rev. Walter M'Leod se- 
conded 

Dr Playfair spoke- of the pleasant relations 
that had always existed between Mr Leathern 
and himself during the six and a half years he 
had been in St Andrews. 

The Rev. Mr Wright presented the call to 
Mr Leathern, which had been -signed by 636 
members. 



Honour to Rev. Dr 
M'3fymont. 



PORTRAIT UNVEILED AT ART 
GALLERY. 

Presentation to Mrs M'Clymont. 

The movement 'to recognise t!ie eminent ser- 
vices winch the Rev. Dr J. A. M'Clyinont has 
'rendered to the Church and community culmin- 
ated this afternoon, when, in prosenc eof a re- 
presentative company of citizens at the Art 
Gallery, he wae presented with his portrait 
painted by Mr G. Fiddes Watt, A.R.S.A. 

The chair wag taken by Lord Provost Mart- 
land, who eulogised Dr M"Clymont's work in 
! the Church and city. 

The presentation was made by Baillie 
Taggart. In a remi. tch he reviewed 

what Dr M'Clymont had accomplished in his 
1 38 years' mini-rtry at Holburn Parish Churcn. 
i The progress of the congregation was wholly 
due to his energy and pastoral care. The 
'steady increase of the communion re! 

rements on the church, and the 
1 efficient etat. of the organisation were ul 
testimonials to his work at Holburn. The 
baillie also alluded to the prominent part which 
Dr 'M'Clymont took in the public fife of the 
city, particularly as a member of the School 
I and in the management of the Royal 
Infirmary and other charitable and philanthropic 
societies aid institutions. Ho also empi 
the place he had taken in the Church courts — 
Presbytery, .Synod, an dAssembiy — and to the 
;ie was regarded not on'y 
rs o( Holburn, but throughout 
the city and the Church. This was shown ly 
. the list of subscribers to the portrait, many 
besides these immediately cnonected with Hol- 
burn having come forward and expressed a 
desire to be associated with the movement to 
I honour Dr M'Clymont. 

The Very Rev. Dr M'Adam Muir, Glasgow 
Cathedral, then unveiled the portrait, paying * 
tribute to Dr M'Clymont as a churchman. 

Miss Gras$ick, for many years secretary of 
tlio Woman's Guild of Holburn, presented Mrs 
M'Clymont with a chesterfield and two easy 
chairs, as indicating appreciation of her de. 
voted labours with her husband for the church. 

Dr M'Clyhiont's Thanks. 

The Rev. Dr M'Ciymont, in acknowledging 
tho honour, expressed his appreciation of the 
kind and generous sentiment voiced by the 
speakers^ and his gratification that with the 
congregation were associated other kind friends, 
besides ministers of the Church of Scotland and 
of other denominations. Such wide and 
geneious recognition greatly enhanced the value 
of the gift. Their kindness would be a source 
of a life-long satisfaction to Mrs M'Clymont 
and himself. 

Professors Cowan end Niool, tho Rev. Dr 
Spence, Cdny; Mr A. Sands, advocate; and 
Captain Harry Brooke of Fairiey sis otook part 
in the proceedings. 

The portrait, a pleasing, life-like study, was 
greatly admired. It is to be on view in the 
gallery to-night from 7 to 9 o'clock. 



HOLBUTtN PARISH CHURCH 



29 



Edmond, who became so prominent on the 
other side. Another eminent member in 
the past was Colonel James Caden- 
head, chairman of the Parochial Board, 
and a business man of high .stand- 
ing. Valuable service was also rendered 
by Mr. William Lunan, C.A., but- perhaps 
the most active and most prominent mem- 
ber for nearly half a century was Baillie 
Archibald Duff of Annfield. He was a most 
loyal and enthusiastic supporter of every- 
thing connected with Holburn Parish. 

During the last thirty-four years the 
history of Holburn Church is largely the 
history of Dr. M'Clymont's ministry. Im- 
provement after improvement has been 




Rev. Dr. M'Clymont. 

effected, both externally and internally ; 
the communion roll has been more than 
trebled, the church has been enlarged, a 
tower and spacious hall have been provided, 
a handsome organ has been erected, and so 
on, and every movement has practically 
m\ <m 1 its inception and its completion to Dr. 
M'Clymont's power of initiative, energy, 
and zeal. Dr. M'Clymont is a native of 
Girvan, Ayrshire, and a graduate of Edin- 
burgh, and, after finishing his theological 
course and studying for a session at 
Tubingen, he was for a short time assistant 
to the Rev. Dr. Watson, Dundee. Not- 
withstanding the claims of his heavy pas- 
torate in Aberdeen, he has found time to 
take a large share in public work outside 



his own congregation. In the Church 
courts he has always taken a keen interest, 
and year by year he has been gaining in 
influence, until he is now an acknowledged 
local leader, and is also recognised as a 
force in the Assembly. He takes a fore- 
most part in Presbytery work, and, as con- 
vener of the Business Committee of the 
Synod, he largely controls the work 
of the court. He is a member 

of the General Committee of the Church 
of Scotland; and in the Life and Work, 
and latterly in the Foreign Mission Com- 
mittee, he has been an energetic and use- 
ful member. More than once he has been 
a member of the General Presbyterian 
Council. He has toured in India, Pales- 
tine, and Greece, and for a winter acted as 
minister at Cairo, and was there successful 
in securing the site for a church and liberal 
subscriptions towards a Building Fund. Dr. 
M'Clymont is even better known as a 
I heological writer. As joint editor along 
with the late Professor Charteris, of the 
Guild Text Books and Guild Library, he 
has had a most important work to perform, 
without any pecuniary return, and he has 
discharged it in such a way as to make the 
whole Church his debtor. He is the author 
of many articles in the " Dictionary of the 
Bible," in addition to several works of 
acknowledged value, specially prominent 
being his volume on "The New Testament 
and its Writers," which has been trans- 
lated into a number of foreign languages, 
and has reached a great circulation. Dr. 
M'Clymont has now been longer in Aber- 
deen than any other minister of the Estab- 
lished Church, yet he is no patriarch. He 
may be regarded as enjoying the full 
maturity of his powers, and as rejoicing 
m the fulness of his strength. It is worthy 
ol mention that Dr. M'Clymont has never 
once used notes in the pulpit for over 20 
years. He prepares carefully, but finds no 
difficulty in dispensing with the MS. This 
fact accounts in large measure for his suc- 
cess as a debater. He quickly grasps the 
facts of a case, and is ready, fluent, and 
convincing in his utterance. He is no 
High Churchman — far from it — although 
he- likes an orderly form of service. With 
ritualism he has no sympathy whatever, 
but every practical scheme of the Church 
fir.ds in him an ardent supporter. 
As a public-spirited citizen Dr. M'Clymont 
is well known, and in the best sense of the 
term he can be reckoned a scholar and a 
gentleman. 

In the work of Holburn Church there 
have been many willing helpers. The late 



30 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Principal Pirie was a valuable membei for 
a number of years prior to his removal to 
Old Aberdeen, and the late Professor 
Cruickshank was a good friend. Mrs. 
Murray of Inverdon was also a zealous 
worker before leaving the district. In the 
present day, Baillie Taggarl is one of 
the best friends of the church, and among 
his fellow-elders are Mr. Alfred Macleod, 
Chief Constable Anderson, Mr. J. R. Jack, 
headmaster of Skene Street Public School : 
Mr. J. Stewart, M.A., of the North of 
Scotland Bank, and others. Mr. James 
Smith (of Messrs. Pratt and Keith) has 
been for many years the hon. secretary of 
the Church Trustees, and in Mr. Alexander 
Sands, solicitor, the church has a most 
valuable and efficient session-clerk. One 
of the most prominent figures in Holburn 
Church during a long period of years was 
Peter Johnston, the beadle. He held office 
from 1843 to 1893, and was absent only on 
three Sundays all the half-century. Peter, 
to use the name by which he was familiarly 
known, was more than once honoured by 
the congregation, and his portrait, almost 
life-size, and handsomely framed, hangs in 
the church hall as his permanent memorial 
in the parish where his venerable form was 
so well known. Holburn Church seems to 
have the secret of retaining its officials for 
lengthened periods. Mr. Ewing, who re- 
tired from the post of precentor in 1886, 
had held that office for 33 years, and dur- 
ing all the 1700 Sundays of his term he 
had only been about half-a-dozen times 
absent. Now there is the minister himself 
in the thirty-fifth year of his service, 
although it should be mentioned that Dr. 
M'Clymont has not been without oppor- 
tunities to leave. Overtures at various 
times were made to him from other 
spheres, but he has preferred to remain in 
the Granite City. 

Dr. M'Clymont has had a rather remark- 
able succession of able assistants, who have 
turned out well. This has, in fact, been 
the subject of common remark, and the 
assistantship at Holburn has almost come 
to be looked upon as a sure stepping-stone 
to a good parish. Amongst the number 
may be named Rev. Alexander Anderson, 
of Daviot, who is regarded as a model 
pastor in his quiet rural parish in the 
Garioch ; Rev. Alexander Wilson, Ythan 
Wells, author of a work on the Prophets, 
which has received high commendation 
from several eminent critics; Rev. John R. 
Duncan, of St. Andrews-Lhanbrvd, who 
was a candidate for Professor PatcrsonV 
chair in Aberdeen University, and is under- 



stood to have made a highly creditable 
appearance in the examination: Rev. 
G. II. Grassick, Leochel-Cuehnie ; Rev 
M. T. Sorley, Relhelvie : Rev. John G. 
Duncan, Kirkmichael ; Rev. J. R. Ma< - 
gregor, Leslie. Fife ; Rev. Kenneth D. 
M'Laren, Cadzow, and formerly of Ruthrie- 
ston; Eev. William Cruickshank, Kinneff : 
Her. Charles Stephen, Military Chaplain 
in England; Rev. J. N. MLennan, 6uc- 
cessor to ''Xether Lochaber" (Dr. 
Stewart): Rev. Neil Macleod Ross. Kirk- 
caldy; and Rev. M. C. Wilson, Hillside, 
Montrose. There might also be mentioned 
the names of Rev. G. J. Chree, B.D., 
Presidency Chaplain of Bengal ; Rev. 
Thomas Scott, Rev. W. S. Sutherland, of 
Kalimpong, a missionary of whom the 
Church of Scotland is justly proud ; Rev. 
William Thomson, Amsterdam, and the 
late Rev. J. W. Slater, whose early death 
cut short a promising missionary career, 
and in whose memory a tablet is erected in 
King's College. 

One of the most distinctive features of 
the life and work of Holburn Parish is its 
very complete, and even elaborate organi- 
sation. In this respect it has often led 
the way not only in the north, but even 
throughout the Church at large. The 
number of communicants on the roll is 
dose on 2000. There are about 3000 people 

including children — belonging to the 
congregation, and the number of families 
represented is about 1000. The congrega- 
tional agencies include the Sunday School. 
Boys' Brigade, Young Men's Guild. 
Woman's Guild, Savings Bank. etc.. all of 
which are worked with vigour and BU 
One of the strongest claims of Holburn to 
favourable mention is its work on behalf 
ni Church extension. In the history of 
Ruthrieston Church, it will be found that 
to Dr. M'Clymont and his congregation 
(he Miiirsv of the movement in its earlier 
- was largely due. 

The personnel of Holburn congregation 
would be difficult to estimate. A very large 
proportion belong to the working cl 
but there is a considerable number of burli- 
ness and professional men. and a good 
sprinkling of retired persons of indepen- 
dent means. At onetime Holburn was the 
farthest west of any Established Church in 
the city. Now there are five all tapping 
the district — Ruthrieston. Rubislaw, 
Mannofield. Craigiebuckler. and 
Ninian's. Yet Holburn to-day is as pros- 
perous as ever. 

During the last generation a very large 
sum of money has been sjient in improving 



r Testimonial to the Rev. Dr 
M'Glymonfr. ^/S 

— ^wm 

For the information of the numerous sub- 
scribers to the testimonial to the Rev. J. A. 
M'Clymont. D.D., who recently resigned the 
<harg« of Holburn Parish Church, the com- 
mittee ha,to pleaenre in reporting that the testi- 
monial -will talke tho form of a portrait of Dr 
M'Clymont, and that the commission has been 
accepted bv the distinguished Aberdeen por- 
trait painter Mr Fiddes Watt, A.R.S.A. The 
artist hopes to proceed with the execution of 
the commission in August of this year. The 
subscription list is still open, so that any friends 
of Dr M'Olymont. who may have overlooked 
the original appeal, may yet send their contri- 
butions to Mr Alexander Sands, solicitor, 8 

| Goldun Square, hon. secretary to the Testi- 

I monial Committee. 



Helium's 



INDUCTION OF THE REV, 
W. H. LEATHAM. ^ 

To-day the Rev. W. H. Leatham, MA, bite 
of St Andrews, was inducted to the church and 
parish of Holburn, Aberdeen, in succession to 
the Rev. Dr M'Clymont, who has retired. 

The service in the church was wefl attended. 
Tho Rev. H. M. Smith, Nigg, moderator of the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen, preached and pre- 
sided, and tho members c.f the Presbytery 
present were : — Professors Nicol and Cowan, 
the Rev. Dr M'Clymont, the* Rev. Dr Gordon 
J. Murray, Grevfriars; the Rev. G. H. Donald, 
Church; the Rev. W. L. Gordon, South 
Church; the Rev. M. J. Wright, St Ninian's ; 
the Rev. James Smith, St George's-in-the-Wret ; 
tho Rev James Rae, North Church ; the Rev. 
Neil Ross, Rosemount ; the Rev. W. W 
Mannofield ; the Rov. John Gordon, St Fit- 
tick's; tho Rev. J. T. Cox, Dyco (clerk of 
presbytery) : the Rev. J. R. Allan, Stoneywcoci ; 
the Rev. W. Lawrence, Banchory-Devenick ; 
the Rev. R. Soark, Durris ; the Rev. A. R. | 
Grant, Portlethen ; the Rev. M. T. Sorley, 
Belhelvie; the Rev. John Fairlie, Woodside; 
and Messrs G. Gall, J. Mackenzie Fraser, and. 
Jamas Burness (elders). The Rev. J. R. 
Prenter, St Paul's, Lcith, was associated with 
the Presbytery; 



HOLBURN PARISH CHURCH 



31 



the church fabric. The erection of the 
tower, the installation of the organ, and 
the recent inauguration of the Gordon 
Highlanders' memorial windows — to name 
only a few out of the many items — all bear 
witness to what has been done. In all 
these movements Dr. M'Clymont has not 



only been the prime mover, but one of the 
leading givers. While congregational 
wants have been carefully supplied, the 
claims of Foreign Missions and other 
schemes of the church have not been over- 
looked, the congregation in this respect 
having few superiors in the Presbytery. 



VIII— JOHN KNOX PARISH CHURCH. 




John Knox Parish Church. 

This was originally an extension church 
within the parish of Greyfriars, and its 
erection was mainly due to the enterprise 
and zeal manifested in those days by the 
Greyfriars congregation under Rev. Aber- 
cromby L. Gordon. Mr. Gordon became 
minister of Greyfriars in 1828, and from 
the outset he seems to have been imbued 
with the desire to introduce in his own 
immediate district the Church extension 
movement, which was then being prose- 
cuted with vigour in several parts of Scot- 
land. The John Knox Church was the out- 
come of his earnest thoughts and active 
efforts. The building was begun in 1833, 
and finished early in 183-5, when steps were 
taken to obtain the formal approval of the 
Presbytery. The first mention of the 
church in the minutes of Aberdeen Pres- 
bytery is on 5th May, 1835, when Mr. Gor- 
don intimated to the court that "a place 
had been raised within the bounds of the 
parish for the purpose of celebrating public 
worship therein connected with the Estab- 
lished Church," and requested that the 
Presbytery should sanction the purpose he 
had in view in the erection of the building. 
The Presbytery expressed appreciation of 
the zeal displayed by Mr. Gordon in con- 
nection with the matter, and granted the 
formal sanction for which application had 
been made. 

No time was lost in the settlement of 
the first minister. Rev. Alexander Philip, 
M.A. (son of Mr. John Philip, bookbinder, 
Broad Street), who had been officiating for 



some time by request, was appointed to the 
charge, and his ordination took place on 
4th August, 1836. The next 6tep in the 
equipment of the new church was the for- 
mation of a kirk-session, and the elders 
were naturally supplied by the mother 
church of Greyfriars. Messrs. Skene, Hay. 
Laing, Bisset. and Machray, elders of Grey- 
friars resident within the district assigned 
to John Knox Church, were on 1st Sep- 
tember, 1836, formally loosed from Grey- 
friars kirk-session and declared members 
of the kirk -session of John Knox Church. 
Everything seemed now in order for the 
prosecution by the congregation of the work 
lying to its hands ; but in little more than 
18 months it was left without a minister by 
the translation of Mr. Philip to the parish 
of Cruden. The vacancy was not a pro- 
longed one, although, as might have been 
expected in the case of so young a congre- 
gation, there were some difficulties to be 
overcome before a settlement could be 
effected. From the first there was a strong 
preponderance of feeling in favour of Rev. 
John Stephen, MA., who was eventually 
elected with what was practically a unani- 
mous vote. Mr. Stephen, who, like his 
predecessor, was also an Aberdonian — hail- 
ing, it is believed, from the Footdee dis- 
trict was ordained and inducted on 27th 
September, 1838. The connection then 
formed promised well for the future of the 
parish ; but when the Disruption of 1843 
occurred Mr. Stephen joined the Free 
Church, and carried along with him the 
great bulk of his congregation. He became 
the first minister of Free John Knox, and 
his subsequent career, so full of fruitful 
service, is connected with the history of 
that congregation. 

A rather peculiar state of affairs was 
witnessed in connection with this church 
at the time of the Disruption. Instead of 
Mr. Stephen and his supporters vacating 
the church they continued in possession, 
claiming that, as a quoad sacra church, it 
stood on a different footing from the city 
parishes. The matter was appealed to the 
Presbytery, a largely signed petition being 
lodged with a claim for the buildings on 
behalf of the Free Church. The decision. 
however, went against the petitioners, and 
on Sunday, 23rd July, 1843, Mr. Stephen 
and his followers took farewell of the 



The Call to the Rev. A. M. 
Snadden, ^s 

A PERTH APPRECIATION. 



In connection -with his election to a 
Johannesburg church the " Perthshire Con- 
stitutional" makes the following appreciative 
reference to the Rev. A* M. Snadden, John 
Knox Parish Church, Aberdeen: — 

The many friends of the Rev. A. M. 
Snadden, of the John Knoi Parish Church, 
Aberdeen, at Foes, Redgorton, and throughout 
the county and city of Perth generally ■will 
congratulate him upon having (been elected to 
the very important and lucrative position of 
St George'6 Presbyterian Church, Johannes- 
burg. The pleasure which this preferment 
will give Mi- Snadden's friends will fee tinged 
with a feeling of regret that he is about to 
leave the Old Country and take up a post in so 
far-distant a part of the Empire. Since he 
went to Aberdeen the Rev. Mr Snadden has, 
as the result of hard and persistent labour, 
overcome difficulties which would have baffled 
less tenacious workers. Perseverance and a 
spirit that does not seem to know the mean- 
ing of defeat has enabled him to undertake 
and carry through to a saiooessf'ul issue tasks 
thet border on the miraculous. 

Nowhere has Mr -Snadden more friends and 
I admirers than in the city and county of Perth, 
'where he attained to a prominent position, not 
only in the administrative work of the Church 
; as discharged by the Presbytery of Perth, but 
largely on account of the popularity of his 
pulpit ministration's. While at Redgorton he 
ircdo special lectures on topical subjects and 
tho works of notable authors a feature of liis 
ministry. Not less interesting were his too- 
tures en social problems, which gave evidence 
of careful study and a olose acquaintance with 
the lives and experiences of all classes of 
people. The announcement that Mr Snadden 
was to lecture was sufficient to eneuire a 
crowded congregation. Sinoe going to Aber- 
deen we have not seen so much of ifir Snadden 
in the Fair City as irnany would have liked, but 
his fre^h, vigorous, inspiring lectures are Btill 
remembered with feelings of pleasure. We 
congratulate the Johannesburg Presbyterian 
Church on their selection of a minister, and 
we wish Mr Snadden health and success in 
bjs now sphere of labour in South Africa. 



New Minister for John Knox 
Church. *-»/t 

— - — ^^ 



CONGREGATION'S 



WELCQME. 



There are 3016 members on the electoral role 

of John Knox's Parkh Church, and as the seat- 

ing accommodation of the Aberdeen Music Hull 

is only some 2500, it was realised by those m 

charge of the arrangements for the induction 

social meeting there on Friday in connection 

with the settlement of 6he Rev. G. Pandas 

Nisbet, M.A., as minister of the church, that. 

! there would bo Jitrlo room to spare. The 

1 hall presented an imposing appearance in both 

j area and galleries, as did also the platform on 

I which members of the large choir were aocoin- 

j modated with ministerial and other friends. 



JOHN KNOX PARISH CH-URCH. 
ramoiwcTTON OF indfvtduai, cup 

COMM-UKK9N SEJBtVDCK. 
In +lie window of Mr James M'Burncy. 5d! 
Union Street, there is on view the new individual 
cup > service wbidi is to bo used for the first timo 
at the forthcoming Communion in John Knox 
Parish Ghuroh. The service consists of oven 
1200 oups, served on 80 trays, supported on 16 
carriers. The oups ars of glass and of the. 
design commonly used for such services. The 
trays are of fumed and polished Austrian oak, 
moulded- on the edge and sunk on the top, with 
moulded cup-holders, capable of carrying 16 cups 
on each tray. The bases of the carriers are alsa 
made of oak. neatly moulded on the tops and 
edges, and with silver-plated pillars m the centre 
on which are placed live trays of cups. Bread 
plates of appropriate size and design have also 
been provided. The work has been capably 
executed by .Mr Stoddart Cameron, cabinetmaker. 
83 Sfcene Square, and Mr John Soon, wood turner', 
27 Hardgate. The oups were supplied by Mr 
James M'Burney, 51 Union Street. It is under- 
stood that the introduction of the individual cup 
has been pressed upon the atr-e-ntion of th<» mem- 
bers of the iKirk Session for some time, and with 
the inew of ascertaining how far this desire was 
shared by the congregation generally a plebiscite 
was recently taken, which showed an overwhelm- 
ing majority in favour of the proposed change. 
In accord with this mandate from the congregation 
the m>w service has been provided, the Kirk 
Session acting throuerfa a sub-committee of its 
number. 



ST**. 

'pi 



TOPICS OF THE DAY. 

Thb public and religious life of tihe north of 
Scotland is all the poorer by the death of the 
Rev. G-. A. Johnston, parieh 
A Popular minister of Grange. In certain 
Preacher, directions it is well for the com- 
munity that the alergy should be 
our masters, but in other and more secular 
aplierea of activity the position of the minister 
is more appropriately that of the servant. ill- 
Johnston, with a fine discrimination that many 
clergymen sadly lack, always knew when to be 
muster and when to be servant. Another com- 
mendable gift woe his amazing memory, which 
enabled h»m to deliver sermons running into 
" fifthlies," ay and even " sdxthlies," without as 
much as Mr Balfour'a " half sheet of note- 
paper." His command of the Boric was also 
in these days remarkable, though townspeople 
seem to have enjoyed it more than country 
audiences. Frequently he packed a church to 
overflowing at a time when the cry of " teem 
kirks " was oftener heard than now, and by 
many ardent admirers his demise will be deeply 
regretted. _ -?,/. ' 



JOHNSTON.— Suddenly, at Manse of Orange, Keith, 
on Wednesday, 6th inst., the Rev. George Andrew 
Johnston M.A., B.D. Funeral on Monday, 11th 
inst. to 'Springhank Cemetery, Aberdeen. Service 
r m Grange Church at 10 a.m. prompt. Aberdeen 
friends please meet at Sjn-ingbaiik Cemetery at 1-45 
p.m. This the only intimation and invitation. 2\'o 
rtowers. i-f-lfrr" 



THE LATE REV. C. A. 
JOHNSTON. 

Memorial Service in John Knox 

y^ church - ^^ 

A memorial service (or the late Rev G. A. 
Johnston, Grange, was held m John Kjiox 
Parish Church, Aberdeen of which Mr John- 
ston was formerly minister, yesterday forenoon. 
There was a large attendance. It was not ex- 
pected that the minister of the ohurch, the Kev. 
G Dundas Nisbet, would be able to take part, 
owing to illness, and has place was taken at 
the commencement of the service by the assis- 
tant minister. Mr Nisbet appeared, however, 
while the service was in progress, and preacneu 
the sermon. He stated that while suffering 
from illness, and while some might say it would 
have been wiser of him to have stayed at home, 
he felt he ought ta be present on such an 
occasion. 

Mr Nisbet said the announcement of Mr Jonn- 
ston'a death came to him as somewhat of a 
shock, and he dared eay it was so to the mem- 
bers of the congregation. Looking back, as he 
did immediately on his election to that parish, 
over the Church of Scotland Year-Book for the 
past ten years, he noticed the strange fact that 
not so many years ago that was rather a small 
congregation. He found that from the time of 
Mr Johnston's election the congregation went 
forth by leaps and bounds. Mr Johnston's 
work and his power and eloquence as a preacher 
were shown not so much by the crowds he drew, 
as by the large congregation he built up as 
members of the Church of Christ. Without de- 
preciating the marvellous work Mr Snadden did 
in building that great churoh, he could safely 
eay that had Mr Johnston not been ministei 
there, there would have been no new church. 
They must have the congregation before the 
need arose. It was an outstanding testimony to 
the strength, the broad humanity, and the 
eloquence of Mr Johnston that, a native of 
Ritcaple, he was called to Old Deer, which was 
comparatively near at hand, and afterwards to 
that congregation of John Knox, and from there 
to the parish of Grange. They were heartily 
sorry that Mr Johnston should have been so 
untimely cut off, and their sympathy went out 
not only to the parish which had been bereft 
of its minister, but especially to the wife and 
young- children bereft of husband and father. 

The Dead March in " Saul " was played 
by the organist 



The tidings of the death of the Rev. G. A. 
Johnston, of Grange, came as -a sudden shock, 
andi in many u, humble home in Aberdeen there 
is very real mourning. It had been known 
that Mr Johnston's health had not been satis- 
factory, but no oue ever thought the end was 
ho near. With the death of Mr Johnston there 
has passed away one of the most remarkable 
men the Church life of Aberdeen has seen in 
recent years. Theie oan bo no question is to 
his wonderful gift-". He had jTeat natural 
endowments, and if the proof of oratory is the 
power of the speaker to ' move and sway a 
crowd, then Mr Johnston was in every sense 
an orator. Of course it is always easy for some 
■people to be hyper-critical as to style, but those 
who have eeen Mr Johnston at hia best among 
his own people are not likely to forget the 
impression — how the care-kned facets of toil- 
worn men and women brightened and softened 
imder the spell of the prea-'her as he spoke to 
them in their own torwrue and lifted their 
thoughts above the hardness of their k* and 
the burden of their daiy life. 
+ ♦♦♦♦ 
One of the secrets of Mr Johzston'.- now: 
was that he was aways perfectly natural. In 
the ptripit he could nse to fine heights o"f 
roovi;.^ eloquence, but he never 6trair»jd ifter 
effect. It was all done in the most simple 
and natural and most bornory way. This wa.- 
flbaracteristic of the man himself. There was 
absolutely no affectation about him. The 
oftcner I met him the more I was improved by 
this, for he was always the same genial, un- 
asHimirtf', kindly soul under all carournttttancss. 
In some resjrfjcts he was aa simple as & oh'ld 
and as tender in h.s '■■clings. lie was 3 big 
man with a big heart, very huma:*. and rem.-, 
ably wide and generoos in his syrrv;*vhi*"- liia 
pa-wky humour was well known, and as be had 
an unrivalled command of ' *,e could 

tefl a story in a way that was quite inimtta.: 
♦ ♦ 4 ♦ ♦ 
\ir Johnston has passed away at a coropera- 
ri.,!v early age. After a career unparalleled 
in tiir- recent annak of the Church, with its 
ri&ys of cloud as well as of sunshine, of storm 
and stress as well as of great achievement*, h* 
h.«. now entered on his rest. Mr Johnston * 
dead, but his name and fame will live on for 
m«.ny flays to come as cherished tradition* 
amort? the toiling masses, for whom there wiD 
never bo another quite like " Johnsto: 
John Knox's." When all t said about Mr 
Johnston, lie can. after &J1, have no higher 
fcribnte than the tart that "the common people 
heard ham gladly." ////// S~ 



/^&- 



♦>♦♦♦ 



JOHN KNOX PARISH CHURCH 



33 



church. On 3rd August, 1813, the Presby- 
tery clerk submitted to the Presbytery a 
letter he had received from the managers 
of John Knox stating that since Mr. 
Stephen had abandoned the church wor- 
ship had not been regularly conducted. The 
Presbytery accordingly instructed the clerk 
to have the matter attended to as soon as 
possible, "so that those adhering might 
not be inconvenienced." No doubt a supply 
of ordinances was provided, as the remnant 
of the congregation had resolved within a 
short time to call a minister. On 23rd 
November, 1843, the Presbyteiy was asked 
to deal with a call from the members of 
John Knox Church to Rev. Charles Skene, 
who was then parish schoolmaster of Skene. 
The election had been unanimous, and the 
call was sustained by the Presbytery, Mr. 
Skene's ordination to the charge taking 
place on 21st December in the same year. 
Then followed a long and comparatively 
uneventful ministry. Mr. Skene was an 
earnest, kindly, faithful man, and he 
laboured in the charge with conscientious 
diligence, although, perhaps, with no out- 
standing success. He gained widespread 
esteem, but latterly, with his advancing 
age and feeble health, the charge proved 
too heavy for him, and after 33 years of 
service in the parish he intimated his resig- 
nation to the Presbytery in 1877. 

On account of some changes that had 
been made in the Assembly's regulations for 
the election of ministers to Chapels of 
Ease, the kirk-session of Greyfriars Church 
was appointed to take steps for filling the 
vacancy in John Knox. What particular 
steps were taken are not exactly known, 
but the matter seems to have been very 
largely left in the hands of the congrega- 
tion of John Knox. The result was the 
election of Rev. Herbert Bell, minister of 
Persie, who was inducted on 1st October, 
1877, when Rev. James Park, of Trinity 
Parish, preached, and Rev. G. F. I. Philip, 
of St. Clement's, conducted the induction 
service. John Knox now entered on a 
period of prosperity. Mr. Bell was a ready 
and fluent speaker, with a good pulpit 
style, and he soon began to draw together 
a very large congregation ; it was, indeed, 
during his ministry that John Knox made 
its first great increase in point of member- 
ship. Soon after Mr. Bell's settlement a 
movement was set on foot to secure the en- 
dowment of the church, and the labours of 
the congregation were crowned with suc- 
cess, the decree of disjunction and erection 
being pronounced by the Court of Teind6 
at Edinburgh on 15th March, 1880. While 



the membership of the congregation in- 
creased considerably, there was quite a re- 
markable growth in the Sunday School. So 
great, indeed, was the increase in the num- 
ber of children attending the school that 
the want of proper accommodation came to 
be acutely felt, and it was soon realised 
that the question of erecting a church hall 
would next have to be faced. To this new 
task the members applied themselves, and 
so successful were their efforts that in 
October, 1885, the hall was ready for occu- 
pation, the cost of its erection being en- 
tirely defrayed. The congregation con- 
tinued to enjoy prosperity, and all things 
went smoothly until every prospect 
was upset by the sudden death of 
Mr. Bell, under tragic circumstances, 
at Kittybrewster Station on 21st Nov- 
ember, 1887. The tidings of his untimely 
end came as a shock to the whole 
community ; but to his own people at John 
Knox the sad event had something like the 
force of a personal bereavement. Mr. 
Bell had done much for John Knox. He 
had raised it to be one of the large con- 
gregations of the city, and he had inspired 
it with new life and vigour in all depart- 
ments of service, and led it forth to cope 
successfully with great undertakings. He 
was also personally popular, and the mem- 
bers felt they had lost a friend as well as 
a pastor and teacher. 

After a vacancy of six months, Rev. 
Henry Ranken, B.D., Edinburgh, was ap- 
pointed to the vacancy by a large majority, 
and his induction took place on 16th March, 
1888. In Mr. Ranken the congregation 
found a minister admirably equipped for 
maintaining and extending the work begun 
by Mr. Bell. A vigorous and powerful 
preacher, Mr. Ranken attracted ever-in- 
creasing audiences, and he soon raised the 
congregation to a higher point than it had 
reached at any former period in its history. 
The communion-roll increased very rapidly, 
and all the agencies were efficiently and 
earnestly worked. The connection, how- 
ever, was a brief one, for on 1st October, 
1891 — three and a half years after his in- 
duction — Mr. Ranken left for Irvine, and 
in that important parish he still labours 
with acceptance and success. The vacancy 
which followed ended in a keenly-contested 
election, which resulted in Rev. A. E. 
Claxton, M.A., assistant in Rickarton 
Parish, Kilmarnock, being appointed by a 
majority of 49 votes over Rev. Robert 
Robertson, then assistant in the North 
Parish, Aberdeen, and now minister of 
Skene. Mr. Claxton was ordained on 22nd 



:;i 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



March, 1892, and lie fully realised the high 
expectations formed concerning him. A 
brilliant student, he proved also an 
eloquent preacher. He had marked evan- 
gelical tendencies, and he cultivated a 
warm and fervent spiritual life, and in 
various ways sought to infuse this spirit in 
the congregation. His pulpit work lay 
nearest his heart, and to it he devoted his 
main strength, while he also realised and 
met other claims, devoting special atten- 
tion to the young men in their guild and 
other societies. After four and a half years 
in so heavy a charge, he began to feel the 




Rev. Duncan H. Brodie, B.D. 

strain too much for him, and in September, 
1890, he accepted a call to the desirable 
parish of Cathcart, Glasgow. 

The vacancy caused by the departure of 
Mr. Claxton was not unduly prolonged. A 
large number of applications for the charge 
were lodged, and in due course the usual 
short leet was selected. The candidates in 
the leet having preached before the con- 
grgation, the matter went to a vote, with 
the result that Rev. Duncan H. Brodie, 
B.D., assistant in Bluevale Parish, Glas- 
gow, was elected. Mr. Brodie, who was 
settled in 1897, came with an excellent 
academic record and considerable ex- 
perience of the practical work of the 



ministry. As a student, both in Arts and 
Divinity, at the University of Glasgow, he 
had taken a distinguished position, and he 
bore the reputation of being the best all- 
round student of his year. In Bluevale 
Parish Mr. Brodie gained experience of all 
kinds of congregational and mission work, 
and he proved a most thorough, devoted, 
and competent worker, ready to meet all 
the heavy demands made upon him. He. 
therefore, came to John Knox with special 
qualifications, and he proved himself in 
every way equal to the situation. He 
maintained a high standard of pulpit 
efficiency. His sermons were vigorous and 
forceful, combining the evangelical and the 
practical in teaching, while eloquent and 
impressive in delivery. 

Mr. Brodie's ministry was a vigorous 
and successful one. He entered heartily 
into all the work of the congregation, and 
helped especially to develop its efforts 
among the young. In May, 1905, he was 
elected to Parkhead Parish, Glasgow, and 
preached his farewell sermon in John 
Knox's on Sunday, Ith June. 

The vacancy which followed was a pro- 
longed one, and in some respects it seemed 
likely to make a severe strain on the 
loyalty of the members of the congregation. 
Oil 27th September, 1905, Rev. George A. 
Johnston, B.D., was. by a very large vote, 
elected minister of the Parish of John 
Knox, but certain ecclesiastical formalities 
stood in the way of his early settlement. 
The circumstances formed the subject of 
lengthy discussion at the Presbytery, and 
afterwards went before the General As- 
sembly. An arrangement was made, how- 
ever, whereby Mr. Johnston officiated 
at John Knox Church in the interval until 
the deciskA of the Assembly made the 
way dear for his formal settlement as mini- 
ster of the parish, which took place on 20th 
June. 1906. Since then the record of the 
church has been one of phenomenal pro- 
gress. Mr. Johnston's fame as a preacher 
made an immediate impression. His 
homely style, his practical evangelical 
teaching, and his remarkable gift of oratory 
attracted immense audiences, and soon the 
church was crowded to overflowing. The 
membership of the congregation increased 
until the communion roll reached a total o4 
considerably over 2000 names, and the con- 
tinued overcrowding of the church raised 
the question of erecting a new and larger 
place of worship. A scheme was adopted 
for the purpose of attaining this object. 
and the members set themselves to raise 
the funds necessary For the purpose. 



Weil-Known Minister Lead. 



THE REV. C. A. JOHNSTON, 
GRANGE. 



A Popular Preacher, 

We regret to announce the death, which took 
place at the Manse, Grange, last night, of the 
Rev. G. A. Johnston, parish minister, at the 
age of 53. 

When in Aberdeen from 1906 to 1909 as 
minister of John Knox Church, Mr Johnston 
was one of the best-knorrn ministers in the city. 
His ministry in John Knox was attended with 
great success. His preaching power and 
pastoral work aroused marked enthusiasm, and 
under his able guidance the congregation grew 
rapidly .until it was one of the largest in the 
city. He was succeeded in John Knox by the 
Rev. A. M. Snadden, now in South Africa, 
who also did much good work. 

Mr Johnston's career was well known. He 
began what might be called his public life in 
1873, when he became a pupil teacher in Fetter- 
near Public School. Chapel of Garioch where 
he remained for five years. From October, 
1878 to 1879 he acted as one of the English 
masters in the Young Gentlemen's Institution, 
Silver Street, Aberdeen. From 1883 to 1885 
he attended the divinity classes at Aberdeen. 
His divinity course was a most distinguished 
one. He entered the University as first bursar, 
and at the close of his first session he stood 
first in systematic theology, first in Biblical 
criticism, first in Church history, and second in 
Hebrew. At the close of his second session Mr 
Johnston's position in the various classes was 
similar to what it was at the close of his first. 
In addition, Mr Johnston won the first prize 
offered annually by the Synod of Aberdeen for 
proficienoy in theology. At the clost, of his l 
third session he occupied the first place in all 
his classes, and again won the Synod ] 
of Aberdeen's first prize. He also | 

gained the first Stuart-Hebrew prize j 
awarded to the best student in Hebrew 
1 and Oriental languages. At the same . time he 
graduated B.D. and obtained the Brown 
Scholarship, bestowed upon the most dis- 
i tinguished divinity graduate of the year. Be- 
tween his first and second divinity session he 
was student missionary at Lochinver, Suther- 
landshire, where he preached and visited regu- 
larly. At the special request of the people of 
LcchJnver he was a>?ain stationed there between 
has second and third sessions. 

His First Charge. 

Mr Johnston was licensed to preach by the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen in May, 1886, and on 
the same day he was appointed assistant to the 
lito Rev. Robert Ross, Cruden. Mr Johnston's 
first settled charge was at Old Deer, and he 
afterwards became minister of the Independent 
Church there, vrhieh grew to have a member- 
ship of between 400 and 500. Mr Johnston 
became minister of John Knox, Aberdeen, in 
1906, and in May, 1909, he was elected by a 
large majority to Grange Parish Church. At 
the time the election was regarded as one of 
the most interesting events in the annals of the 
parish. When the result was announced a 
large crowd wa a waiting at the church, and 
loud cheers were raised. The church be|l was 
rung to announce to the paxishoners at a ois- 
tance that a minister had been elected. 



When Mr Johnston left John Knox for 
Grange regret in the city was general. He was 
one of the most popular preachers in the town, 
and on one occasion he preached in the 
open to over 10,000 people. This 
was on a Sunday afternoon at Scotstown Moor. 
The German gipsies were encamped on the 
moor at the time, and in the course of the after- 
noon over 30,000 persons from the city visited 
the moor. Mr Johnston never read his ser- 
mons, yet his matter was solid, the subject well- 
reasoned out, the diction fluent, and the style ' 
most earnest and animated. The impression 
he made on his hearers was deep and abiding, 
and no matter where he spoke Mr Johnston 
always had a large audience. When in Aber- 
deen Mr Johnston did not confine his activity 
and influence entirely to the congregation of 
John Knox. Every good cause had his earnest 
and enthusiastic support, and never a week 
passed without him appearing on the platform 
of some meeting or at a social function. His 
services as a speaker in connection with church 
meetings were much sought after, and while 
health permitted he was never appealed to in 
vain . 

Ministry at Grange. 

Our Grange correspondent, writing, says: — 
Many over a wide area will learn with deep 
regret and poignant sorrow of the death of the 
Rev. G. A. Johnston, minister of Grange. 
Although ho has for some time 'been in feeble 
health, the end came last night at 8.30 quite vn- 
expeotedly. For the post three Sundays he was 
unable to preach, and the duty was ably dis- 
charged by Mr Watson, Rothes. On Wednesday 
afternoon Mr Johnston was feeling better in his 
health, and Dr Taylor, Keith, who was attend- 
ing him, was rather better pleased with his 
condition, but a sudden seizure came on, and 
he passed peacefully away at the hour 6tated. i 
A'ter acting some three years as minister of ! 
John Knox Parish Church, Aberdeen, Mr 
Johneton came to Grange in May, 1909, and was 
inducted in the first week of July, which gave 
the parish almost six years of his ministry. 
, He was known through the North of Scotland 
' to be a born preacher, endowed 1 with a fine 
I memory and fluency of speech which marked 
! hits out as one of the most distinguished and 
earnest preachere in the Church of Scotland at 
the present day. Duriaifr the six years of his 
ministry he never used a manuscript, but de- 
livered his sermons with great force and dra- 
matic power. 

The deceased was a comparatively young 
man, 53 years of a»ge, and is survived by a wife 
and young family of two sons and two daugh- 
ters, for whom the sineerest sympathy is felt 
in the bereavement into which they have been 
so suddenly plunged. 



TOPICS OF THE DAY. 

The members of John Knox Parish Church 
congregation will soon be engaged in tbe choice i 
of a minister in sue- I 
John Knox Church cession to the Rev. G. J 
Vacancy. Dwndas Niebet. It is : 

a very large congrega- 
tion, consisting almost entirely of working j 
people, and tliere is ample scope for a clergy- ) 
mam. possessed of energy and initiative. Tire 
Rev. A. M. Smaddcn, the immediate pre- 
decessor of Mr Nisbet, possessed these qualities 
I in a remarkable degree, and to bis devoted 
I efforts was mainly due the completion of the 
I new church buildings. Before Mr Snadden 
1 came tbe Rev. George A. Johnston, whose 
i eloquence drew admiring auditors from all parts 
| of the city. Tbe Rev. D. Brodie, the R'-v. A. 
1 E. CLaxton, the Rev. Henrv Rankr.n, and tbe I 
Rev. Herbert Bell rendered successful sen ice, 
1 and when Mr Ranken's son received tbe 
Victoria Cross, the members of John Knox 
showed that they bad not forgotten the 
minister of Irvine Parish, who had left them, 
twenty-fiv e years before. The memory of the 
Rev. Charles Skene is more dim, but he had a 
high reputation as a scholar in his day. He was 
one of the parish " dominies " to whom the 
Disruption gave an unexpected opportunity, 
and he " wagged his pow " in the pulpit of 
i Knox for fully thirty years. It was Mr 
Skene who declared of the Assyrian Army — 
"When rbey awoke in the morning they -were 
all dead men." 

? ? ? ? 



■JOHN KNUX PAIUSH CHURCH 



35 



John Knox Church, in addition to its 
various organisations for the young people 
and others within its own borders, is like- 
wise actively engaged in mission work on 
behalf of the people in the surrounding dis- 
tricts. Its Parish Mission is under the 




Rev. George A. Johnston, B.D. 

superintendence of the assistant minister, 
and in this connection reference may be 
made to the ministers now in charges of 
their own who were associated with John 
Knox Church in such a capacity. The 
number includes — Rev. David Silver, M.A., 
Westruther; Rev. William M'Conachie, 
B.D., Guthrie; Rev. William Adams, B.D., 



among its own members 
Edwards, who has held that 



New Deer; Rev. James Rae, M.A., North 
Parish, Aberdeen: Rev. William G. 
Guthrie, B.D., Logie-Buehan ; and Rev. 
Arnold L. Kemp, M.A., Walls, Orkney. 

The congregation of John Knox is com- 
posed almost entirely of the working 
classes, and the church is situated in what 
is practically an east-end district. Yet it 
has not been lacking in the enterprise and 
ability to undertake and complete impor- 
tant schemes solely by its own efforts. The 
erection of a church hall, the introduction 
of a pipe organ, and the erection of a hand- 
some new oak pulpit are instances of what 
it has accomplished in this respect. An- 
other fact which may be considered worthy 
of mention is that John Knox's, unlike many 
other parish churches more fortunately 
situated, is able to find a session-clerk 

In Mr. David 
post since 

1893, the church has a most intelligent, 
efficient, and painstaking official, whose 
work has not been allowed to pass unre- 
cognised. 

The burden of work entailed by so great 
a congregation having begun to tell on 
Mr. Johnston's physical strength, he be- 
came a candidate for the pariah of Grange, 
and was in due course elected, his induc- 
tion there taking place on 6th July, 1909. 
Before he left John Knox Parish he re- 
ceived striking and tangible tokens of the 
great impression produced by his short 
ministry, not only in the congregation 
itself (as evidenced by the phenomenal 
increase in membership), but also in the 
religious life of the community in which he 
had come to occupy so distinctive a place. 

To the vacancy caused by Mr. Johnston's 
removal Rev. A. M. Snadden, B.D., min- 
ister of the parish of Redgorton, Perth- 
shire, was elected by a vote of the congre- 
gation on '20th October, 1909. 



C2 



IX— MANNOFIELD PARISH CHURCH. 




Mannofield Parish Church. 

The movement which led to the origin 
of this church was mainly promoted by 
residents in the locality. The iron church 
which had been erected at Craigiobuckler 
in 1873 had drawn a certain proportion of 
its membership from the Mannofield dis- 
trict, and in the course of a few years a 
desire wa6 expressed in favour of securing 
a church specially for that district. Mr. 
William Gordon, advocate, took the lead- 
ing part in promoting the new scheme, 
and in course of time a petition on the 
subject was submitted to the Presbytery. 
Tho petitioners asked permission to erect 
a temporary church (to be followed as 
soon as practicable by a permanent build- 
ing) at Mannofield, and they submitted 
an arrangement whereby the Rev. William 
Forbes, M.A., then minister at Craigie- 
buckler, should become minister of this 



new charge. There were difficulties to be 
overcome, and these occupied the atten- 
tion of the Presbytery for some time. 
The preservation of the rights of the 
Craigiebuckler Church had to be kept in 
view, but ultimately an amicable arrange- 
ment was arrived at. The Craigiebuckler 
congregation were then proposing to pro- 
ceed to the erection of a stone and lime 
church, and, by the selection of a 6ite for 
their new edifice at a greater distance from 
Mannofield, the difficulties in the way 
largely disappeared. In January, 1881. 
the Presbytery, on a report being sub- 
mitted by the special committee appointed 
to deal with the matter, expressed its 
satisfaction at the harmonious outcome of 
the negotiations, and formally sanctioned 
the starting of a new congregation at 
Mannofield. and loosed Mr. Forbes from 
the charge of Craigiebuckler. 

A neat wooden church was erected in 
the triangular plot of ground in front of 
the site of the present building, and the 
opening services in this temporary place 
of worship were held on Sunday. 27th 
February, 1881, the preachers on the 
occasion being Rev. C. C. Macdonald. of 
St. Clement's, and Rev. Henry Cowan, of 
Rubislaw. A fortnight later — on 10th 
March, 1881— Rev. William Forbes, MA. 
was formally inducted as first minister of 
Mannofield, Rev. George Duncan, of 
Maryculter, conducting the induction ser- 
vice in presence of the Presbytery. On 
the following Sunday Rev. H. W. Wright, 
of Ferryhill, introduced Mr. Forbes to the 
congregation. 

While the services were continued in 
the temporary edifice, two schemes wen- 
promoted concurrently — the erection of a 
permanent church, and it6 endowment, so 
as to secure for it the status of a parish 
church. Botli schemes were attended with 
success. This was due. in some measure, 
to tho support of the increasing member- 
ship, but also — and, perhaps, mainly — to 
the marked generosity of certain of the 
original promoters of the cause. A hand- 
some church was erected in a most desir- 
able position on the North Deeside public 
road, at its junction with the Countess- 
wells road. The building itself is a comely 
edifice, and its appearance is enhanced by 
the graceful spire, which is now a land- 



Wedding of the Rev. W. 
Gillieson. 



Phin 



The wedding of the Rev. William Phin GiHie- 
son, minister of the second ohoage of Ayr Parish, 
and formerly of MaDiro&eW, Aberdeen," and Miss 
Margaret Marion Mitchell, orrfy child of Mr 
and Mars Andrew Mitchell of ~Fisrierton and 
Brooiofield, Ayr, took p3acc vesterday afternoon 
in the New Parish Church, 'Ayr. The service 
was choral, and fcbe officiating maBisters were 
the Very Rev. Dr Mitford Mitchell, Edinburgh; 
the Rev. A. H. Gillieson, Caifciinesa, father of 
tic bridtegroom; and the Rev. William Cairns 
Duncan, minister of the first charge, Ayr. The 
best man was the Rev. Alexander Ruseefe, minis- 
ter of Callander. There ware fowr brid«snmipds 
—Misses Una CtUTsoii and Catherine &n*hri« 
Smith, cousins erf the bride: Mis* Susan Grllie- 
son, sister of the brides-room ; and Miss Eva 
MaoDonald. The bridie wore a gown of white 
«tki Gbarmant. trimmed with Homton lace, the 
waist, being- finished with a fine old paste buckle, 
the gift of the bridegroom. The Court wain 
was of ivory poph'n brocade, slung from the left 
shoulder and lined throughout with satin. She 
aiso wore her grandmother's veil of Honiton 
applique. After the wedding a reception was 
held at the Hotel, Dai'blarr. 

REV. W. W. RETD. MA N*NOFTEO), CALLED 
TO DUMBARTON*. 






Voting took place last week for the election of 
a minister to Dumbarton Parish Church. The 
vote of the congregation, which was for or 
against, reeulted in the election of Rev. William 
Walter Reid, Mannofield Parish Church, Aber- 
deen, to the charge. 

Rev. W. W. Reid is a native of Inverness-shir « 
and had a brxUuuit University career. He 
graduated in Arts at Aberdeen University in 1894 
with first -cUatt classical honours, and obtained the 
Town Council gold medal as the moat che 
tinguished graduate of the year. He took hi 6 
Divinity course in Edinburgh and carried off 
many of the leading prizes and awards including 
the Ebties Scholarship of £115, the Blaokie 
Travelling Scholarship of £150, and the Bruoe of 
Grangehill Scholarship to the most distinguished 
student in the Divinity classes of £100 g e spent 
some time is Germany, and was afterwards assist- 
ant a St Outhbert's. Ed.nburgh, and prioT to 
being eottled in Mannofield he was locum tenena 
"I nh°*2 Chur « h . P^nfermlme. The stipend 
at Dumbarton « £468 per annum with manse 
and augmentation. Mr Reid's departure from 

^ fth- ^L 01 ?^* V** 1 ** «• the membex- 
sbip of the School Board A. » si 

— 7* <h~ 'W* 



The Rev. J, Aulay Steele. 




Above is a photo of the Rev. J. Aulay Steele, 
the minister-elect of Mannofield Parish Church, 
Aberdeen. Receiving his early education at 
Bombay, he took his arts and divinity courses 
at the University of Glasgow, with the follow- 
ing distinctions : —Morgan bursary (£100) John 
Adam bursary (£54), Burnside prize for know- 
ledge of the English Bible (£10) for two succes- 
sive years. Downhill prize for public speaking 
(£10^ and. prizeman in Church history, Biblical 
criticism and Hebrew. He graduated M.A. in 
1906. Licensed Li 1909 he was assistant minister 
of Keith Parish Church (1909-10, and from 1910 
to 1914 was in the Argentine, being assistant 
minister to St Andrew's Scots Church, Buenos 
Ayres, with charge of the whole work in the 
interior of Argentine. Since last pear he has 
been minister-m-charge of St George's Parish 
Church Glasgow. Mr Steele is 30 years of 
age. 



r&£ ABERDEEN 
ABERDEEN PRESBYTERY 

TRANSLATION OF MR REID TO 
DUMBARTON 



Agreement, to tii© translation of the Rev. 
W. \V. Reid, Mannofield, to Dumaarton, and 
the granting of, leave of absence to the Rev. 
John Gordon, St Fittick'r;, for three months for 
servioe at the front, weire the items that oc- 
cupied the attention of the Presbytery of Aber- 
deen yesterday. The Rev. John M 'Murine wae 
moderator. The Presbytery of Dumbarton waa 
represented by the Rev. T. S. Macpheraon, 
moderator, and the congregation by Mr Thomas) 
Pollock Mr John Galloway appeared for the 
Mannofield congregation, and Mr Jolin Milne 
and Mr Wm. M'Hattie, solicitor, for the kirk 
seteion. 

The commissioners from Dumbarton were first 
heard. 

Mr Maophereon said the reasons usually 
urged in favour of the translation of a minister 
from one parish to another applied in this case 
with more than ordinary force. There was no 
cli.-M-i.il pointed minority in Dumbarton, and if the 
Presbytery agreed to the translation, he could 
promise quite frankly that Mr Reid, so far 
from having any resistance to overcome, would 
begin a new ministry with the moat oordial and 
unanimous good -withes of one of the largest 
congregations in the Church of Scotland. lie 
believed that Mr Reid would fill the place of 
L)r Alpine as well as it could be filled by any 
young man, for ho need hardly tell them that 
the praises of Mr Reid were many as a man 
of scholarship, culture, and high character, who 
possessed exceptional gifts as a preacher, his 
crowning qualification being a good minister of 
Jesus Cnri6t. A man of spiritual attainments 
and gifts was needed everywhere — surely never 
more needed than in these day6 of high national 
endeavour and deep national anxiety; eurely 
nowhere more needed than at the very heart 
of their Empire's life. They were business men 
labouring day and night in shipyard and factory, 
60 that the work of the Empire might go on, 
and they might emerge triumphantly from tho 
conflict in whioh they were engaged. A man 
who could exercise spiritual gifts such as Mr 
Reid possessed was the man they needed, and 
he asked the Presbytery to grant the request of 
the Dumbarton congregation. 

Mr T. Pollock associated himself with tie 
moderator in support, of th© call. Tho call had 
been signed by 311 members, and while that re- 
presented about 25 per cent, of the membership, 
it was not to be taken in any wav as a criterion 
of those who had not signed. Many of the 
members were out of town, and a greater num- 
ber still were working iu the production of war 
munitions. The communion roll stood at 1236, 
and the church was seated for about 11E0. 
TheTe was not an unlet seat. The church was 
in a flourishing condition, and it was mainly a 
working-class congregation. 



APPRECIATION OF MR REID'S 
WORK. 

^Mr M'Hartie. on bhealf of the MannoSeld 
Session, was sure that Mr Reid would receive 
a oordial welcome at Dumbarton. Since he 
cam" to Aberdeen. Mr Reid had maintained the 
church in a very flourishing state. The church 
hall was iust about completed when Mr Reid 
came and the whole of the debt upon it had 
been wiped out. A large account due in con- 
nection with tile streets adjoining the church 
had also been wiped off, and tney had in- 
augurated a fund lor the improvement of the 
church. They h-ad also during Mr Reid's 
ministry ordained eight new elders, and ad- 
mitted about 130 <»mmuniaants and generally 
the church was in quit© a flourishing state, and 
he had no doubt Mr Reid would accomplish 
th© same good results at DumDarton. 

Mr Galloway, on behalf of Manuofield con- 
gregation, expressed the deep regTet with which 
they parted with Mr Reid. He had been with 
them for five years, and first to last as man, 
pastor, and teacher he had approved himself to 
them. He had gone out ana in a straightfor- 
ward, honest, kindly, capable man. One knew 
exactly where Mr Reid stood; they were never 
in any doutit about that, and tl knew 

the honesty of purpose that lay behind him. 
There was no self in the case, there was no 
aide either academic or clerical. He paid no 
more respect to the man with the gold ring than 
to the man with the homy hand. As a ter 
he h«d carried into the pulpit the same qv 
thct he had as a man — one throughout 
(ulture and as rich spirituality. M r Reid was 
an intensely reverent man. and gave them sound 
Gospel truth. They did not stand in the way 
of Mr Reid's translation, and wished him every 
success. (Applause.) 

Mr John Milne, also on. behalf of the con- 
gregation, wished Mr Reid all success in bis 
new sphere, and congratulated Dumbarton on 
getting such an excellent pastor. 

Mr Reid then intimated that he intended to 
accept the calL 

The Rev. James Rae, North Pariah. moved 
that the translation be granted, and the Rev. 
Mr Leathern seconded, the Rev. T. D. Watt 
and the Rev. Dr Calder speaking in apprecia- 
tive tenns of the work in Aberdeen cf the 
minister of Mannofield. 

The Rev. Mr Reid, in reply, expressed h:< 
thanks for the compliments that had been pad 
him He would always retain very hapr 
collections of his intercourse with his co-presby- 
He had never missed a meeting at which 
he could possibly be present, and he expressed 
his gratitude to the congregation for the un- 
failing kindness which had always been extended 
to him. He thanked the congregation of 
Mannofield, and particularly his veay kind 
friend, Mr Galloway, for their £Teat kindness. 
H« would always recall the courtesy and good- 
will that had prompted MCr Galloway to speak 
in the way he had done. (Applause!. 

The- translation was then formally agreed to. 



MANN0F1ELD PARISH CHURCH 



37 




Rev. William Forbes, M.A. 

mark of the district. The church was 
opened on Sunday, 30th July, 1882, by 
the Rev. Dr. R. H. Story, of Roseneath 
(afterwards Principal Story, of Glasgow 
University), who preached forenoon and 
evening to large congregations. The en- 
dowment of the church was completed in 
the same year, the boundaries of the new 
parish were fixed, and by decree of the 
Court of Tenuis, Mannofield became a 
"quoad sacra" Parish Church. 

The original kirk-session consisted of 
Messrs. William Bowie, George M'Bain, 
John Ogg, James Simpson, John Edwards, 
and William Gordon. It was to Mr. Gor- 
don that the church owed its existence, 
and it received his warmest support to 
the end of his life. He took a keen in- 
terest in all its affairs, served it as session 
clerk, and gave munificently of his means 
for its support in every way. 

During the first quarter of a century of 
its existence, Mannofield Church may be 
said to have had a comparatively un- 
eventful history. Mr. Fcrbes uas a 
graduate of Aberdeen University, where 
he specially distinguished himself in Logic 
and Philosophy. Ordained, a« a young 
man, to the Chapel of Ease at Craigie- 
buckler in 1874, and translated to Man- 
nofield, as already stated, in 1881, he 
spent his whole ministerial life in the 
same district, confining himself almost ex- 



clusively to the duties of hi6 own church 
and pastorate. He intimated his resigna- 
tion to the Presbytery in 1906 on his re- 
tirement from active service, and before 
leaving Aberdeen he was the recipient of 
a farewell presentation by the congrega- 
tion. 

The present minister of the church, Rev. 
W. Phin Gillieson, M.A., was ordained 
and inducted to the charge on 18th 
January, 1907. Mr. Gillieson is a son of 
Rev. A. H. Gillieson, of Olrig, Caithness. 
He is a graduate of Edinburgh University, 
where he had a highly distinguished course 
both in Arts and Divinity. In addition to 
gaining a high place in his classes, he also 
took a large share in the work of the 
various societies in connection with the 
University. He was associated in various 
capacities with St. Giles' Cathedral, act- 
ing first as lay reader, afterwards a6 
missionary assistant, and latterly as 
licensed assistant. He became specially 
successful in work amongst the young, 
both in the Sunday School and various 
classes, and also in the Young Men's 
Guild, in connection with which he 
ultimately occupied the position of pre- 
sident of the Edinburgh Council. Home 
Mission and social work likewise claimed 
his vigorous support. Mr. Gillieson 's 
work in connection with the congregation 
generally gained the highest appreciation, 
and on leaving for Aberdeen, there was 




Rev. W. Phin Gillieson, M.A. 



38 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



conferred upon him the distinction of an 
Honorary Minister of St. Giles' Cathedral. 
On his settlement at Mannofield, Mr. 
Gillieson at once threw himself into the 
work of the parish with enthusiasm and 
energy. His pulpit gifts soon began to 
attract attention, steadily growing con- 
gregations being attracted by his fresh, 
telling, and eloquent preaching. Within a 
year and a half the membership increased 
by nearly 200, and the sittings in the 
church were almost fully let. Various new 
organisations and agencies were started 
for the development of the work of the 
congregation, both within its own member- 
ship and for the good of the district. In 
addition to the Sunday School, which is 
now a large and flourishing one, and the 
Bible Class, which is also very successful, 



there are the Women's Guild, Girls' Guild, 
Boys' Brigade, etc. The congregation is 
realising its responsibility, and seeking to 
become a power in the district. When tli«: 
church was founded, Mannofield wa6 a 
different place from what it is to-day. 
Then, it was outside the city boundary, 
and had more of the aspect of a country 
village. To-day, it is part of Aberdeen, 
and connected with the city by an un- 
broken line of suburban villas. On all 
sides the population is rapidly increasing, 
and every year the district is growing in 
importance. The church is situated in a 
position which commands a wide area, and 
offers a field of service which is capable of 
yielding an immediate return, the first 
fruits of which have already begun to 
appear. 



MINISTER OF MANNOFIEID 
PARISH. 



New Appointment Sustained. 

\ special meeting of the Presbytery of Aber- 
deen wa Ik d in the Mannofield Parish Churen 
this afternoon to determine the procedure with 
reference to tie appointment of the Rev. J. 
Aulay Steele, St George's, Glasgow, to tile 
vacant charge of Munnofield, m suciesHon to 
the Rev. \V W. Reid. now of Dumbarton. In 
the absence of the moderator, the chair was 
■ by the Rev. J. K. Wilkin. 
■ The Rev. J. T. Cox, Dyce, Presbytery clerk, 
submitted the relative documents, and intimated 
the acceptance by Mr Steele of the appointment, 
made in hi- favour. The call had been signed 
; l>v 205 communicants and adherents of_Manrio- 
tick!, out of a communion roll of over 700. He' 
! moved that Mr Steele's appointment be eus- 
1 twined. A considerable number had voted for 
j another gentleman, but from what he knew of 
.field, he was sure that all sections o fthe 
congregation would unite in giving Mr Steele a 
most hearty welcome. 

The Rev". Dr Thomson. Rubislaw, seconded 
The congregation of Mannolield were to be 
congratulated on securing as their minister one 
id was eminently good, and who. in 
i hi,, last sphere of duty, acquitted himself with 
the utmost credit. 
The call was accordingly sustained. 
| Mr Cox said if would meet the convenience, 
both of Mr Nicole and also of the congregation, 
that the admission should take place on Friday, 
December 3, at half-past seven o'clock in the 
evening. He moved accordingly. 
Agn 

!i was also arranged that the Rev. J. A- W, 
Mulligan should | h address 

Mr Cox remarked 
[oderator of the Kirk 
• as quite ap- 
propriated hould discharge the duties 
mentioned. 



J&/Z'. 



$*/<** 



MANNOFIELD CHURCH NEW 
MINISTER. 

Induction of Rev. J. A. Steele. 



i The Presbytery of Aberdeen met in Manno- 
field Parish Church last night for the admission 
of the Rev. J. Aulay Steele, M.A., formerly of 
St George's, Glasgow, to the pastorate of the 
church in succession to the Rev. W VV. Reid, 
now of Dumbarton. The Rev. James A. W. 
Mulligan. B.A. Ruthrieston, the moderator, 
presided, and there were present the Rev. Dr 
C C. Macdonaid, the Rev Maxwell J. Wright, 
St Ninian's; the Rev. J. Fairlie. Woodside; 
the Rev. G. D. Nisbet, John Knox ; the Rev. 
J T. Cox, Dyce, clerk of Presbytery ; Mr Geo. 
Gall, elder St George's-in-the-West ; Mr Hugh 
W Graham, elder, Mannofield ; and Mr James 
P-ordon, elder, St Clement's. 

The devotional services were conducted by Mr 
Mulligan, who preached on the sovereignty of 
God, trom the text "The Lord God omnipotent 
reisneth. and we know that all things work to- 
gether for ffood to them that love God." 

The Presbytery then proceeded to admif, the 
new minister, Mr Mulligan putting to Mr Steele 
the usual questions appointed oy the law of the 
1 Church. 

Mr Steele was formally admitted to the 
charge, and received the right-hand of fellow- 
ship. 

Mr Mulligan afterwards addressed the mini- 
ster, directing his attention to some of the duties 
that lay before him. The supreme idea of the 
ministry, he pointed out. was to lead men to 
Christ, and promote the spiritual growth of 
those who had already consecrated their lives to 
His service. Among the numerous duties which 
the work entailed, preaching was the most im- 
portant. It was the supremo function of the 
Christian minister. AU the other duties should 
be made subservient to the preparation neces- 
sary for doing this one efficiently, and the fire' 
which had to be burned in the pulpit must be 
kindled in the study. There must also be per- 
sonal religion and the minister must have a 
message. It was a matter of superlative im- 
portance that the sick should receive special 
attention. In tho name of the Presbytery, he 
extended to Mr Steele a cordial welcome, and 
wi«h<»d him all spiritual and temporal prosperity 
Addressing the congregation, Mr Mulligan 
trusted that Mr Steele would receive the respect 
and confidence to which he was entitled. If the 
| duties of the minister were numerous and bind- 
ing, there were also duties which tho people 
owed to their minister, and which were equally 
1 obligatory. They should encourage their mini- 
ster by attending regularly the services of the 
church, and bo charitable in their judgments on 
him. 

The service, which was attended by a large 
congregation, was of a very hearty nature, and 
as they 'eft the church the members had an op- 
portunity of welcoming the new minister. 

__^__— . _ _ __ S /£ 



X.-NORTH PARISH CHURCH. 




North Parish Church. 

The North Parish was erected on 5th 
March, 1828, when, by a decree of the 
Court of Teinds, the one city parish of 
St. Nicholas was divided into six full 
"quoad civilia " parishes — viz., East, 
West, North, South, Greyfriars, and St 
Clement's. There was no building suit- 
able for being apportioned to the North 
Parish, and the erection of a church had 
to be undertaken at once. An excellent 
site was obtained at the corner of King 
Street and Queen Street, in the very heart 
of the new parish, and situated in what 



was regarded at the time as a command- 
ing position in the city. The building 
which was then erected is that which is 
still used to-day, and which for more than 
a generation has been looked on as one of 
the landmarks of Aberdeen. It is a mas- 
sive and imposing structure, designed by 
the late Mr. John Smith, architect, 
Aberdeen, after the model of St. Pancras 
Church, London. It cost £10,500, and 
has accommodation for 1700 to 1800 per- 
sons. It was opened on 19th June, 1831, 
the service being attended by the Lord 
Provost and Magistrates in their official 
capacity. 

The first minister of the North Parish 
was Rev. John Murray. At the date of 
the division of the parishes he was one of 
the collegiate ministers of St. Nicholas, 
being associated with Rev. James Foote 
in officating in the eastern portion. 
Previous to that he had been for a 
period of ten years minister of Trinity, 
and he was well known in the city even 
then as a most successful minister and a 
fervent preacher. He had been one of 
the first to organise an association for 
raising funds for missionary purposes, and 
he was the first to bring to Aberdeen the 
well-known missionary hymn '" From 
Greenland's Icy Mountains.'' Mr. Murray 
had made quite a name for himself in 
Aberdeen, and when the division of the 
city parishes took place, the Magistrates 
gave him the option of remaining sole 
minister of the East Church. He insisted, 
however, on his colleague, Mr. Foote, 
who had been the people's choice, remain- 
ing in t lie charge, while he went out to 
form a new cause. His appointment to 
the North Parish was, therefore, a 
popular one, and the huge building soon 
began to fill up. Mr. Murray was an 
earnest minister, and every worthy move- 
ment found in him a warm supporter. He 
also developed the practical side of the 
Church's life, and was instrumental in 
causing the erection, at a cost of £1000, 
of a large school in Albion Street, where 
educational as well as religious work was 
carried on. The last of the debt on this 
venture was raised by means of a sale of 
work, which is supposed to have been the 
first held in Aberdeen. The prosperity 
and influence of the North Church were 
then steadily growing. In 1843, however, 



40 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



there came the Disruption, and Mr. 
Murray, with the bulk of his congrega- 
tion, left the Establishment and founded 
the Free North Church. He received the 
degree of D.D. in 185G, and it i6 as Dr. 
John Murray, the first minister of the 
Free North, that he is best remembered 
to-day. 

Although there was only the merest 
remnant of a congregation left in the 
Parish Church, steps were at once taken 
to secure a new minister, and before the 
memorable year of 1843 had come to its 
close Rev. John Wilson, of Methil, Fife- 
shire, had been formally settled in the 
charge. Mr. Wilson's ministry was a long 
one, extending over 27 years, but it does 
not appear to have been eventful. He 
carried on the work of the parish in a 
quiet way, taking no prominent place 
either in the community or the Church 
courts. In 1866, when he is described by 
Mr. Carnie in his "Reminiscences" as 
" an ageing, easy-going gentleman in 
matters ecclesiastical," he was proposed 
against another candidate for the Moder- 
atorship of the Aberdeen Synod, but de- 
clined to allow his name to go forward. 
" Whatever ambition I may have had in 
my younger days towards the office of 
Moderator, I have none now. I have 
lived and laboured here for 23 years, and 
all the city ministers — younger men than 
myself — have been elected, yet the Synod 
never condescended to choose me, and 
now it is perfectly vain to do so " — these 
were the pathetic words with which he 
waived aside the proposal of his name. 

Mr. Wilson's strength having been de- 
clining with his advancing years, he re- 
tired from active work, and in 1870 Rev. 
William Jamieson, from Maxwell Parish, 
Glasgow, was settled as his assistant and 
successor. Mr. Jamieson was a man of 
6talwart form, an earnest and diligent 
worker, and possessed of no mean ability. 
He gained a great hold over the people, 
and under his ministry the congregation 
rose in numbers to something approach- 
ing the present size. While Mr. Jamie- 
son's personality and work contributed 
largely to the building up of the con- 
gregation, there was an interesting in- 
cident in his career which may be said to 
have proved the turning-point in the 
history of the North Church. Mr. Jamie- 
son cultivated a taste for poetry, and 
when the famous wreck of the " London " 
took place in the Bay of Biscay, he 
penned a long original rhyme bearing on 
the subject, and this piece he recited in 



public with dramatic power. The effect 
wa« instantaneous. The North Church 
became crowded to its utmost capacity, 
and the numerical strength it reached at 
this time has never been altogether lost. 
Mr. Jamieson thus made something of a 
sensation in his day, although he was not 
a sensational preacher. A man of unique 
gifts, and a minister of energy and zeal, 
his death at a comparatively early age and 
after a short pastorate was deeply 
mourned by an attached congregation. 

The next minister was Rev. George S. 
Anderson, but after eighteen months he 
left for Kilrenny, Fifeshire, where he still 
labours ; and in April, 1379, Rev. William 
M. Wilson was inducted to the charge. 
Mr. Wilson is a native of the town 




Rev. William M. Wilson. 

of Ayr. and an alumnus of Glasgow 
University. On receiving licence as a 
preacher, he proceeded to Canada, where 
he was ordained to an important charge 
in New Brunswick. Hi6 ministry there 
was very successful, but on Mrs. Wilson's 
health breaking down he had to return to 
this country. On his arrival in Scotland 
he was asked to take temporary charge of 
the church at Burntisland, and when en- 
gaged in the work there he preached in 
Aberdeen as a candidate for the North 
Parish, with the result that he was elected 
to the vacancy. It was a heavy task to 
which he had then to apply his energies. 
The communion roll of the congregation 
contained 2372 names — a vast number to 



The death of the Rep. W. M. Wilson, the 
senior minister of the North Parish. Church, re- 
moves a kindly' and well-known, personality 
from our local Church life. Mir Wilson had 
been Irving' in retirement for some years, and 
had consequently been leas in the public eye. 
In his day, however, he iwas one of the best- 
known among city ministem Ho gathered and 
kept together an immense congregation — it waa 
then the largest in the city — and he was at the 
call of th.e people, and particularly of those in 
the east end, for innnranerable services. Few 
ministers had so many engagements to fulfil m 
oonneotion with baptisms, marriages, and 
funerals. Mr Wilson was a kindly, earnest, 
man, who had a personal hold over his gxeat 
congregation. 



♦ ♦»♦» 



, ! 



/^/= /o/z/zf/jf 



Presbytery Tribute. 






At » meeting of the Presbytery of Aber- ; 
deen in St Mary's Chapel, Aberdeen, to-day, 
sympathetic reference was made to the death 
of tne Rev. W. M. Wilson, senior minister of 
the North Parish Church. 

Professor Cowan voiced what he knew, he 
said, would be the universal .feeling of the 
deepest regret at the death of Mr Wilson, 
who for many years had been a most devoted 
minister in active duty in Aberdeen. Mr 
Wilson had been not merely an esteemed, but 
a beloved member of that Presbytery. He 
moved that they transmit their deepest 
sympathy to Mrs Wilson. 

The Rev. Dr Wright, in seconding, said that 
Mr Wilson had been a most lovable man, and 
a most hard-working minister. There could be 
no more oonolusive evidence of that than the 
fact that, durinsr his ministry, the North Parish 
congregation became the largest in the city, 
with a membership amounting to 3000. 

The motion was passed unanimously, and the 
moderator and olerk were appointed a small 
committee to raak« arrangements for the 
funeral services. 



*=£. *////?,+, 



DEATH OF REV. W. M. WILSON. 

Aberdeen North Church Senior 
Minister. 

The death took place at an early hour this 
morning of uie Rev W. M. Wilson , senior 
minister of the North Parish Church, Aberdeen. 

Mr Wilsou, who was a native of Ayr and an 
alumnus of Glasgow University, on receiving 
licence as a preacher, proceeded to Canada, 
where he was ordained to an important charge 
in New Brunswick. His ministry there was very 
successful, but on Mrs Wilson's Health breaking 
down he had to return to this country. On his 
arrival iu Scotland he was asked to take tem- 
porary charge of the church at Burntisland, 
and when engaged in the work there be 
preached in Aberdeen as a candidate 
for the North Parish, with the re- 
sult that he was elected to the vacancy. 
It was a heavy task to which he had then to 
apply his energies. The communion roll of the 
congregation contained 2372 oaoios — a vast num- 
ber to be overtaken and kept together. Trade 
at the time waa not in a prosperous condition, 
and the general outlook was far from encourag 
ing. In course of time new suburban oongi ^.ra- 
tions were formed, and this inoreased the strain rn 
churches situated in the east end. Yet Mr vViisrvi 
continued to work on in his own quiet. *tt»ady 
way, and the membership of the North Church 
row close on 3000— the numbers being bus not 
onl- maintained, bt t substantially increased. 

Finding the oongregation almost without 
organisation, Mr Wilson immediately set 
himself to supply the deficiency. A 
special feature during his ministry was 
the largo Bible classes and young 
communicants' classes .and it was largely from 
them that the membership of tl.o church was 
recruited in such a way as to maintain its high 
figures. By his hold on the young folks through 
these agencies, and by his kindly manner with 
the people genorally, Mr Wilson very largely 
contributed to the success of his ministry. After 
a quarter of a century of such work he found 
it necessary for the sake of his health to retire 
from active duty. He preached his first sermon 
as minister of the church on 8tli April, 1879, 
an') on 8th May. 190*, he gave his farewell 
message to the congregation. 

On the tenth anniversary of his induction, 
Mr Wilson was presented with a handsome 
silver salver by the kirk-session when testimony ; 
was borne to the happy results of his success- ! 
ful labours as a minister of the Gospel; and 
again, when he retired his labours in the North 
Parish were thankfully icknowledged by his 
people. 

On Mr Wilson's retirement, th<> Rev James 
Rae. MA., ansistant in St Mai-v's. Dumfries, 
wa* elected his asststan* and successor, Mr 
Rao's ordination and induction taking place on 
18th May. 1904 

Mr _ Wilson was held in high esteem not onjv 
by his own congregation, but by the citizens 
generally. 



/SE- 



j/'//f/'? 



6 



NORTH PARISH CHURCH 



41 



be overtaken and kept together. Trade 
at the time was not in a prosperous con- 
dition, and the general outlook was far 
from encouraging. In course of time new 
suburban congregations were formed, and 
this increased the strain on churches 
situ tted in the east end. Yet Mr. Wil- 
son continued to work in his own quiet, 
stead} - way, and the membership of the 
North Church increased to nearly 3000 — 
the numbers being thus not only main- 
tained, but substantially increased. This 
was accomplished by no extraordinary 
means. Mr. Wilson found the congrega- 
tion almost without organisation, and he 
immediately set himself to supply the de- 
ficienc} - . A special feature has been the 
large Bible classes and young com- 
municants' classes, and it is largely from 
them that the membership of the church 
has been recruited in such a way as to 
maintain its high figures. By his hold on 
the young people through these agencies, 
and by his kindly manner with the people 
generally, Mr. Wilson very largely con- 
tributed to the success of his ministry. 
After a quarter of a century of such work 
he found it necessary for the sake of his 
health to retire from active duty. He 
preached his first sermon as minister of 
the church on 8th April, 1879, and on 8th 
May, 1904, he gave his farewell message 
to the congregation. 

Rev. James Rae, M.A., assistant in St. 
Mary's, Dumfries, was elected assistant 
and successor, and his ordination and in- 
duction to the North Parish took place on 
18th May. 1904. Mr. Rae had gained con- 
siderable experience of work as an 



assistant in various spheres. For a period 
he had held such a position in John Knox 
Parish, Aberdeen, and therefore he did 
not come to the ministry of the North 
Church as an entire stranger to the city. 
The main feature of Mr. Rae's ministry 
has been the successful completion of a 
scheme for the acquirement of church 
halls. A large dwelling-house in King 
Street, immediately adjacent to the 
church — for many years the residence of 
ex-Provost John Webster, afterwards 
M.P., and then used as the offices of the 
Aberdeen School Board — was purchased 
and remodelled as parish rooms, the open- 
ing ceremony taking place in October. 
1908. 

There is little of a distinctive nature in 
the life and work of the North Parish 
Church. It is a prominent example of a 
congregation burdened with a heavy 
membership, for its vast numbers must 
prove in a way a source of weakness rather 
than of strength. The same holds good of 
every congregation where the numbers on 
the roll are so greatly out of proportion 
to the seating accommodation, for it must 
be apparent that a large residuum of 
the membership can have but a nominal 
connection with the church. Yet to the 
minister these form a constituency lying 
immediately to his hand and ready for 
the operation of his influence and work. 
It is to the masses within rather than the 
masses without that he must direct hi6 
efforts, and of this state of matters the 
North Kirk of Aberdeen may be said to 
furnish a case in point. 



XI- POWIS PARISH CHURCH. 




Powis Parish Church. 

This church was opened on 3rd Novem- 
ber, 1895, as a Chapel of Ease in the 
parish of Oldmachar. The necessity for 
its erection had been recognised, and the 
first steps in the scheme had been taken 
some years before there was any practical 
outcome. The Kittybrewster district of 
Oldmachar had been steadily growing, 
until it was estimated that it contained a 
population by itself of close upon 5000. To 
meet the needs of this large and rapidly 
increasing corner of the city there was only 
one place of worship of any denomination — 
Causewayend Free Church — and it was felt 
that the Established Church, in justice to 
its traditions, had a duty to perform for its 
members in the district. 

As early as 1888, a site was gifted to the 
Church of Scotland by the Misses Leslie of 
Powis, with the stipulation in the deed of 
gift that the church to be erected 
should be known as Powis Church. No 
better position for the proposed church 
could have been imagined than the site 
thus so generously presented. The spot 
had for long been known to Aber- 
donians everywhere as "Split the Wind," 
and it had come to be recognised as one 
of the landmarks of the city. Not only 
had it this distinctive position, but it was 
excellently situated for a church in the 
very centre of the district the proposed 
church was meant to serve, and also at the 
junction of two main avenues of traffic to 
and from the city. The scheme was taken 
up by the Aberdeen Church Extension As- 



sociation and the Presbytery Church Exten- 
sion Committee, one of the leaders in the 
movement being the Rev. (now Dr.) John 
Calder, of Oldmachar. As convener of the 
committee of Presbytery, Mr. Calder had 
a general interest in the matter, and he 
had also a particular interest in it as one 
of the ministers of the parish within « hich 
it was proposed to raise the new church. 
From the outset he worked hard to realise 
the end in view. It was largely through 
his instrumentality that the site was 
secured ; his personal influence was also 
exerted in securing subscriptions, and in 
the various negotiations and proceedings 
the cause had no more effective advocate. 
By the close of 1891 the 6um of nearly 
£1200 had been subscribed by friends of the 
Church in Aberdeen and the neighbour- 
hood. In 1894 this had been considerably 
increased, and it was felt that there was 
then sufficient, with the promised grant.-,, 
to justify the promoters proceeding with 
the erection of the long projected edifice. 
The original scheme, designed by Mr. A. 
Marshall Mackenzie. A. U.S.A.. provided 
for a handsome church, with nave and 
transepts, and a lofty and graceful spire — 
the whole to form a stately edifice which 
would be an ornament to the district. The 
response to the financial appeal did not. 
however, justify the promoters in proceed- 
ing with the complete scheme. It was de- 
cided to abandon for the time the erection 
of a spire, and also to leave the transepts 
out of the plan. Accordingly, the building 
took the form in which it still appears, and 
in that form it cost between £'2-500 and 
£2600. 

The opening services on Sunday, 3rd 
November, 1895, were conducted by the 
Rev. Dr. Jamieson, of Oldmachar. and the 
Rev. Professor Cowan, of the University. 
The pulpit was occupied during the suc- 
ceeding months by many of the ministers 
of the city, but action was meantime being 
taken to secure a minister to lead the 
new movement. This ended in the appoint- 
ment of the Rev. Thomas D. Watt. MA. 
who was settled at Powis in April. 18 

Mr. Watt is an old "' Gym " boy. having 
been educated at the Chanonry House 
School under Dr. Barker. Thereafter he 
was a year at the " Old Barn " (Old Aber- 
deen Grammar School) under Dr. Dey. pre- 
vious to entering King's College. He 



PUlYlti PARISH CHURCH 



43 



graduated M.A. at Aberdeen University, 
where also he took his Divinity course, at 
the close of which in May, 1885, he was 
licensed by the Presbytery of Aberdeen. 
He then began work as assistant in Hamil- 
ton Parish Church and town missionary. 
From Hamilton Mr. Watt was transferred 
in 1889 to Edinburgh. He was ordained 
as minister of the Chapel of Ease in the 
Grassmarket, known as the Robertson 
Mission Church, which was under the kirk- 
session of New Grey friars Church. There 
his work lay among the slums of Edinburgh 
and the lodging-houses, and he was brought 
face to face with the problem of the " out 
of works" and the "submerged tenth," 
and in addition to the duties of his pastor- 
ate, he took an active share in work on be- 
half of these classes in the community. For 
nearly five years he was convener of the 
committee for admitting men to work 
under the auspices of the Association for 
Improving the Condition of the Poor. For 
some years he was a member, and latterly 
secretary, of the Social and Sanitary 
Society of Edinburgh, and in this way was 
brought into contact with many social re- 
formers and workers in regard to housing 
and other problems. On his own initiative 
and responsibility, he rented an empty 
shop and started a club for lads and girls. 
which was open for certain hours every 
night, and also organised an employment 
agency and working men's brigade. When 
he was called to Aberdeen, he was on the 
eve of opening a labour home. In this Mr. 
Watt had anticipated the special work on 
which the Church of Scotland has recently 
embarked. 

On coming to Powis in May, 189(5, Mr. 
Watt found another kind of effort claiming 
his activity. There was a new church with 
only 84 members, but witli a debt of £850. 
There was no Sunday School, and no agen- 
cies of any kind. Everything had to be 
organised from the beginning, but from the 
date of Mr. Watt's settlement steady pro- 
gress was made in all directions. The debt 
on the church buildings was paid off by the 
end of December, 1898, and a balance of 
£3 19s. 6d. was carried forward as the 
nucleus of an endowment fund. In 1901 a 
hall was provided underneath the church 
at a cost of about £200, which was entirely 
defrayed, and in the same year a pipe organ 
was installed in the church. The efforts of 
the congregation were then directed to- 
wards the completion of the endowment. 
A bazaar, supported by several of theolder 
churches in the city, was held in October 
1902, and loyal friends of the Church of 



Scotland assisted the congregation to 
realise the object of its ambition. The en- 
dowment was completed, and by a decree 
<it the Court of Teinds, Powis was erected 
into a parish on 8th January, 1904. Follow- 
ing on this Mr. Watt, who had up till then 
merely been minister of the Chapel of Ease, 
was formally elected, and his induction by 
the Presbytery as first minister of the 
parish took place on 10th February, 1904. 




Rev. Thomas D. Watt, M.A. 

The first kirk-session was also chosen, and 
Powis was fully equipped as a parish of 
the Church of Scotland. 

Mr Watt has all along set a high ideal 
of the Church's life and mission, and by 
the attitude he has adopted he has given 
Powis something of a distinctive position. 
Perhaps this has not been conducive to 
rapid increase of members, but Mr Watt 
has declined to lower his standard. He 
has held that the Church should stand for 
aggressive evangelism, a spiritual plat- 
form, and missionary effort. Along these 
lines he has worked during the years of 
his pastorate, and he still holds firmly by 
the same position. There are some 



44 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



special features of work in connection with 
the congregation. Open-air services have 
been regularly held during the summer 
months at the foot of Ashgrove Road, and 
many encouraging results are said to have 
been reaped from this special work. The 
members have also been trained to take an 
interest in foreign missions, and their con- 
tributions lor the cause have reached a 
point highly creditable to the congrega- 
tion. In home mission work something 
practical has been attempted by means 
of an effort to reach the people in the 
Charles Street district. This, it is 



hoped, may yet become the centre of a 
larger movement among the dense popula- 
tion in that corner of the parish. 

A pipe organ was installed in the 
church, and a bazaar was held in 1906 to 
defray the cost of it, along with the ex- 
pense of some necessary alterations in the 
buildings. The church has frequently 
been the recipient of gifts. The Com- 
munion vessels, the Communion chairs, the 
baptismal font, and other furnishings have 
been presented at various times — some of 
them as memorials of good friends who 
have passed away. 



ROSEMOUNT CHURCH'S NEW 
MINISTER. 

Welcome by Congregation, 



In connection with the induction of the Rev. 
James K. Wilkin, M.A., Ladhope, Gaiashiclfi, 
to Rosemount Parish Church, Aberdeen, in suc- 
cession to the Rev. Neil Ross, Buocleugh Parieh. 
Edinburgh, a largely-attended congregational 
meeting was held in the church last night, and 
the proceedings were of an extremely hearty 
nature, auguring well for a harmonious and vic- 
eessful ministry under Mr Wilkin. Mr James 
Farquharson presided. 

Mr G. M. Fraser, in presenting a pulpit robe 
to Mr Wilkin, extended a hearty welcome to 
him, in name of the congregation, to Ro6emount 
Parish. (Applause.) Not even the oldest in- 
habitant could remember a more peaceful settle- 
ment, and it was partly due to the good fellow- 
ship of the moderator of the session, Mx Watt, 
Powis, who had proved himself a true neigh- 
boar and friend of Rosemount. (Applause.) 
Ihey hoped that Mr and Mxa WilKm would not 
only have great joy and success in the service 
of that church, but enter into a long and happy 
personal life with the city of Aberdeen. (Ap- 
plause.) 

Mrs Tawse and Mrs Anderson then robed 
Mr Wilkin, amid cordial applause. 

Mr Wilkin, who was heartily received, said 
ho hardly knew how to reply to the exceed- 
ingly hearty welcome they had given him aa 
their minister in Rosemount, by the presenoe of 
60 many members of the congregation and 
the heartiness and unanimity that prevailed. 
He believed one and all of them had their part 
in giving him that beautiful gown, and he hoped 
the robes in which they had clothed him woiild 
inspire him to give them of his very best m 
their worship in that sanctuary. He tihanked 
them heartily for the robe and for the kindly 
spirit in which it had been given, and he 
would try to be worthy of it. (Applause.) 

The Rev. W. G. Donaldson, Forfar, gave * 
! racy speech, ana wished Mr Wilkin, a success- 
ful ministry in Rosemount. 

GIFT TO MODERATOR. 

Mr A. F. Blaok presented the Rev. T. TX 
Watt. Powis, who had acrted as moderator of 
the session during the vacancy, with a purse 
old sovereigns. ^_ __ r*/',^.i. 



REV. DR J. LEASK, 

Former Rosemount Minister 

to Retire. ££. */>t/i9 

The Rev. Dr James Leask, minister of St. 
Stephen's Parish Church. Broughty Ferry, has 
intimated Lie intention of resigning his ohairge 
shortlv owing to failing health. 

Dr Leaek is a native of Banffshire, and re- 
ceived his early education at' Gamrie Parish 
Siiioolr!, and at Aberdeen Grammar School. 
Ho "»\as A distinguished Kktdent of 
! Aberdeen University, graduating in 1869 with 
honours in mathematics, and winning the 
Boxill Prize. He had also a most successful 
career at the Edinburgh Theological Hall, 
where he was awarded the Hepburn Prize. 
His first charge was at Lonma.y, where he 
laboured for three years, then becoming the 
first minister of Rosemount Parish Church, 
Aberdeen, where he had a short but remark- 
ably successful pastorate. In 1881 he was called 
to "St Stephen s, Broughty Ferry. In this 
charge he has had a successful ministry, and 
the news of his pending retirement has been 
\ received with much regret in the community. 



XII.— ROSEMOUNT PARISH CHURCH. 




RosemountJParish Church. 

The claims of the Rosemount district 
were apparent to the Aberdeen Church 
Extension Association from the outset of 
its operations. Rosemount in the early 
'seventies was very different from what it 
is to-day, but even then it was recognised 
to be a growing locality, while its 
immediate prospects were regarded a6 
exceptionally bright. How fully the 
expectations have been realised is now a 
matter of common knowledge. Rosemount 
iias grown to be one of the most populous 
of the newer districts in the city, and the 
fact that a church was planted in its 
midst when the development was just 
beginning is a tribute to the foresight of 
the leaders in the movement. 

On 21st February, 1875, the triangular 
piece of ground enclosed by Mary Place — 
now known as West burn Road— Caroline 
Place, and Rosemount Terrace was pur- 
chased as a site for the proposed church. 
The situation seemed all that could be 
desired. Between 30 and 40 years previ- 
ously, this site had commended itself to 
Dr. Chalmers for the purpose of Church 
extension, and a committee had then been 
formed to promote the erection of a place 
of worship. The troubles of the Disruption 
prevented the carrying out of this enter- 
prise, but, fortunately, the plot of ground 
remained unoccupied until the Church 
Extension Association acquired it, as 
already stated, in 1875. 

Plans for a church to accommodate 800 
persons were prepared by Mr. William 
Smith, city architect, the total cost being 
about £5000. It was nearly two years 
before the building was ready for occupa- 



tion, the opening and dedication services 
being held on Sunday, 9th December, 1877. 
The officiating ministers on the occasion 
were — Rev. Norman Macleod, of St. 
Stephen's, Edinburgh ; Rev. Henry Cowan, 
of Rubislaw ; and Rev. J. A. M'Clymont, 
of Hoi bum. For some months pulpit 
supply was provided by various preachers, 
but as early as January, 1878, steps were 
taken towards the appointment of a minis- 
ter for the new congregation. The name 
of Rev. James Leask, M.A., of Lonmay, 
was favourably regarded both by the Rose- 
mount sub-committee and the committee 
of the Church Extension Association, and 
ultimately Mr. Leask was induced to under- 
take the charge, his settlement taking 
place on 13th June, 1878. Thereafter, 
rapid progress was made in gathering a 
congregation. In October, 1878, ten 
months after the opening of the church, 
and four months after the induction of Mr. 
Leask, there was a membership of 320, 
tvith a Sunday School of 200, and a Bible 
Class of 75. The next important step was 
the election of managers, to whom, along 
with the trustees, the Church Extension 
Association handed over the control of the 
secular affairs of the congregation. The 
election took place on 17th February, 
1879, when the association's supervision 
ceased. The original trustees were — Mr. 
James Chalmers of Westburn, Mr. Lauchlan 
M'Kinnon, jun., advocate, and Mr. Thomas 
Ruxton, advocate ; and the first committee 
of management elected by vote of the 
congregation consisted of Messrs. James 
Rutherford, Samuel Tawse, John Roy, 
Thomas Fotheringham, Peter Clark, and 
James Ross. On 11th December, in the 
same year, another stage was reached, 
when the endowment of the church was 
completed. The Presbytery appointed 
Rev. George Jamieson and Rev. John 
Calder (the ministers of Oldmachar) as 
assessors to act along with Mr. Leask in 
the formation of a kirk-session, and on 1st 
February, 1880, the following were 
ordained and inducted as the first elders of 
the congregation, viz. : — Messrs. Peter 
Clark, Thomas C. Hynd, James Jeffrey, 
John M 'Lauchlan, John Roy, James 
Rutherford, James Ross, and Samuel 
Tawse. Mr. Thomas Fotheringham was 
appointed session clerk, a past which he 
held with great acceptance until 1887, 



46 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



when he was .succeeded by Mr. James D. 
Morrison, who is still in office. 

The congregation enjoyed great pros- 
perity in these early years of its history. 
Mr. Lcask gained a high reputation as a 
preacher, his eloquent and thoughtful 
sermons attracting very large audiences, 
especially on the Sunday evenings, v. hen 
the church was frequently crowded in 
every part. A notable feature was the 
very large proportion of university students 
who \\ere drawn to the church, and who, 
in various ways, took part in its life and 
work. Unfortunately, Mr. Leask's minis- 
try was a short one. In November, 1881, 
he accepted a call to St. Stephen's, 
Broughty-Ferry — a decision which was a 
source of profound regret to the members 
of Rosemount Church. In his pastorate of 
three years and five months he had practi- 
cally made the congregation, "raising it 
from nothing to be a very important 
charge," and leaving it without a penny 
of debt. In Broughty-Ferry, where he 
still ministers, he has added to his reputa- 
tion, and his abilities and worth have been 
recognised by the conferment upon him 
some years ago of the honorary degree of 
D.D. " 

In the vacancy which ensued, Rev. 
Henry Cowan acted as moderator, and Re^ 
Duncan M'Gregor (now minister of Tor- 
phins) was appointed to undertake the 
temporary pastoral oversight of the con- 
gregation. With great heartiness, a 
call was addressed to Rev. Duncan Camp- 
bell, B.D., minister of the Scotch Church 
in Paris, and formerly of Keig and 
Grahamstown. Mr. Campbell's induction 
took place on 11th May, 1882, and he was 
formally introduced by Rev. John M'Mur- 
trie, of St Bernard's, Edinburgh. Under 
its new minister, Rosemount Church wit- 
nessed development in various directions. 
Mr. Campbell possessed great organising 
power, and his influence was felt in the 
institution of many new agencies, in the 
fostering of systematic Christian liberality, 
and in the cultivation of a warm, philan- 
thropic, and missionary spirit in the con- 
gregation. He also saw a large scheme of 
church improvement initiated and carried 
to a successful completion. In January, 
1885, the introduction of an organ was 
unanimously sanctioned by the congrega- 
tion, and the scheme then undertaken 
included the erection of a new gallery in 
the east end of the church, a rearrange- 
ment of the seating in the area, the erec- 
tion of a new pulpit, and the painting and 
decorating of the whole building, the entire 
cost, inclusive of the organ, being over 



£900. Dining the alterations the congre- 
m met for public worship on Sunday 
afternoons in Rutherford Free Church. 
The next scheme was for the erection of a 
■ Lurch hall. This was undertaken in June, 
1889, and the hall was opened on 28th 
March, 1890, the cost being over £1100. 
In November, 1889, Mr. Campbell, acting 
under medical advice, had to obtain leave 
of absence for three months, during which 
time Rev. Robert Robertson, B.D. (now 
minister of Skene), was in charge of the 
congregation. 

As the population of the parish in- 
creased, the congregation grew in pro- 
portion, and the duties of the minister 
became every year more exacting. At 
first Mi-. Campbell was assisted informally 
and voluntarily from time to time by 
students who were preparing for the 
ministry— in 1888-80 by -Mr. Charles Grant, 
who died in the midst of a distinguished 
course as a student of divinity ; and in 
1890-92 by Mr. Harry Smith, now 
minister of Tibbermore, and Mr. A. 
Mood Smith, now minister of Xewniacliar. 
lit October, 1892, it was resolved to 
appoint an assistant to Mr. Campbell, 
the choice falling on Mr. Hood Smith, 
who continued to serve the congregation 
in that capacity until his election to the 
parish of Kemnay in May. 1893. In July, 
L894, Mr. Campbell received a call 1 - 
Matthew's, Edinburgh, which, after con- 
sideration, he resolved to accept, although 
it was with the utmost regret that the 
congregation of Rosemount viewed the pro- 
spect of his departure. Of the influence 
exerted during the 12 years of his pastor- 
ate it would be impossible to speak too 
highly. He left the congregation with a 
membership of over 1000, fully equipped 
with buildings, and highly organised in 
every form of Christian .service. Yet there 
were deeper results of his work. His 
diligence in visiting and zealous pastoral 
oversight, his earnest temperament and 
devotional spirit, had made an impression 
which could not easily pass away. Mr. 
Campbell's ministry in Edinburgh was an 
eminently fruitful one. and he became a 
very prominent figure in connection with 
the Young Men's Guild, a department of 
work which had enlisted his sympathy 
before he left Aberdeen. He also became 
favourably known as an author, his pub- 
lications including " Hymns and Hymn- 
Makers," and a volume entitled " The Roll 
Call of Faith, and Other Sermons." The 
death of Mr. Campbell, which occurred in 
1903, deprived the Church of Scotland of 
a minister of singular devotion and zeal, 



ROSEUoIXT PARISH CHURCH 



47 



and of great and ever-increasing capacity 
and influence. 

Rev. Dr. Mitford Mitchell, of the West 
Parish, was appointed moderator during the 
vacancy at Rose mount on Mr. Campbell's 
removal to Edinburgh, and Rev. William 
Stephen, B.D. (now minister of Inverkeith- 
ing) took temporary charge of the parish. 
The choice of the congregation on this 
occasion fell on a probationer, Rev. 
William Borland, B.D., then assistant in 
Glasgow Cathedral. Mr. Borland was 
ordained and inducted on 31st January, 
1895, and was introduced by Rev. Dr Pear- 
son M'Adam Muir, then of Morningside, 
Edinburgh. Mr. Borland found the con- 
gregation vigorous and flourishing in all 
departments, and was able fully to main- 
tain its prosperity. He even found 
occasion to develop some new features of 
work. In 1897 a parish mission was 
instituted, Sunday evening services being 
regularly held in Maberly Street Hall ; 
while district visiting and various mission 
agencies were also carried on. For a time 
Mr. Borland undertook all the work of the 
parish unaided, but in June, 1897, he 
received an assistant in the person of Rev. 
Gavin Lang Pagan, B.D., now minister of 
St. George's, Edinburgh. A feature 
of the work undertaken by Rose- 
mount Church about this time in 
which Mr. Borland had a very active part 
was the movement for the erection of a 
new church to serve the district west of 
Argyll Place, and in March, 1896, the kirk- 
session of Rosemount resolved to take the 
initial steps in the proceedings which have 
since led to the erection of St. Ninian's 
Church. After a ministry of six years at 
Rosemount, Mr. Borland left in 1901 to 
become minister of the parish of Dunbar, 
where he still labours. During hie stay 
in Aberdeen he was recognised as one of 
the ablest of the younger ministers in the 
city. His keen intellectual gifts and his 
incisive style as a preacher were generally 
acknowledged, and he worthily upheld the 
dignity of the ministerial vocation. 

Again Rosemount had a comparatively 
brief vacancy and a very harmonious 
settlement. Rev. Henry W. Wright, of 
Ferryhill, acted as moderator, and on 25th 
September, 1901, Rev. G. Wauchope 
Stewart, B.D., was inducted to the charge. 
Mr. Stewart had followed up a very 
brilliant career at Edinburgh University, 
where he carried off the leading prizes 
during his course, by his settlement as 
minister of the West Church, Fraserburgh. 
in 1891. There he established a reputa- 
tion as a man of wide and varied culture, 



and this reputation he maintained and 
enhanced on entering on his larger sphere 
in Aberdeen. Mr. Stewart was a candi- 
date for the Chair of Systematic Theology 
in the University of Aberdeen when it was 
vacated by Professor W. P. Paterson in 
1903, and although unsuccessful, it is 
understood that he made a highly credit- 
able appearance in the examination. In 
November, 1906, Mr. Stewart was elected 
minister of Fyvie in succession to Dr. A. 
J Milne (who died before the expiry of 
his year of office as Moderator of the 
General Assembly), and Rosemount was 
again left without a minister. 




Rev. Thomas Wilson. B P. 

The vacancy was not a prolonged one. 
It was filled on 2nd April, 1907, by the 
settlement of Rev. Thomas Wilson, B.D., 
formerly of Greenlaw, Paisley. Mr. 
V ilson is an earnest preacher and full of 
energy and zeal as a worker, and under 
his care the vitality of Rosemount Church 
is being well maintained. Notwithstand- 
ing the many claims made from time to 
time, the church is now entirely free of 
debt, and large sums have also been raised 
to.' various schemes outside the congrega- 
tion. It is worthy of note that, even after 
making allowance for the founding of St. 
Ninian's and other causes which might 
have been expected to exercise a pre- 
judicial effect, the membership of Rose- 
mount Church has continued steadily to 



48 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



increase. It has still a multiplicity of 
agencies adapted for work amongst both 
old and young, and designed both for the 
strengthening of the congregation itself 
and for reaching by philanthropic work 
certain sections of the population lying 
near its own doors. 

Rosemount Church has carried through 
many schemes of extension and improve- 
ment, and there is not much left to be 
desired either in accommodation or 



comfort. It still lacks, however, the epire 
which appeared in the original plan. The 
hope that this would be provided by some 
generous donor has not been realised, and 
if the project is ever to be completed the 
responsibility will now have to be under- 
taken by the congregation itself. When 
it has met every other claim on its 
resources, perhaps it may turn its attention 
to this important architectural feature as 
a worthy object of its ambition. 



ROSEMOUNT PARISH CHURCH. 



New Minister Introduced. 



A large congregation assembled in the Rose- 
mount Parish Church yesterday forenoon, when 
the Rev. Neil M. Rosa, the newly-inducted 
minister, was introduced to his congregation. 
The Rev. John Oamipbell. Kirkcaldy, officiated, 
and preached from the words, "And this is life 
eternal, that they might know Thee, the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast 
sent." Mr Ross read the Scripture lessons. 

Mr Campbell, at the close, introduced the 
new pastor as follows: — 

This, my brethren, in the gospel you have 
called my friend to minister to you in its grace 
and truth — the gospel that to know God is life 
eternal — the gospel that God wishes to be so 
known — nay, sent His Son to make Himself 
known, that we might not perish, but have 
eternal life. All else that he may minister to 
you is less than the great glad tidings it is his 
privilege, and mine, to make known. He will 
give you his best in many ways — in scholarship, 
in cultured thought, and wise guidance in the 
problems that face the man in the street in the 
religious life ; but I think you will always look 
to him for, and expect above all else, that 
knowledge which Christ came to give — the 
knowledge of God as the Saviour of men. 

- ■= '*/?%, 



Xlll.-RUBISLAW PARISH CHURCH 




Rubislaw Parish Church. 

The founding of the church and parish 
of Rubislaw was part of the large exten- 
sion scheme promoted in the early seventies 
of last century in the interests of 
the Church of Scotland in Aberdeen. 
As the movement which was then 
undertaken with so much enterprise and 
zeal has affected in no inconsiderable 
degree the subsequent ecclesiastical history 
of the city, it may be well that some 
reference should be made to it in this 
connection. 

It is a. matter of common knowledge that 
in no part of the country did the Estab- 
lished Church suffer more severely at the 
Disruption of 1843 than in the city of 
Aberdeen. All the ministers seceded, and 
the great majority of their congregations 
went along with them, the Established 
Churches being left in each case with a 
mere handful of members and in a general 
state of disorganisation. To repair the 
havoc then wrought was a task which re- 
quired long and patient effort, but in 
course of time it was fully accomplished. 
New congregations were gathered to fill 
the existing churches ; yet, in 1873 it was 
found that there was much still to be 
desired. The Established Church had suc- 
ceeded in regaining what it had lost, but 
it had not been able to do more. It had 
been so absorbed in the work of consoli- 
dation as to exclude all thought of exten- 
sion and development. Thus it was that, 
30 years after the Disruption, there were 
still only 11 Established Churches in the 
city, notwithstanding that in the inter- 
vening years there had been an enormous 
increase in the population. Then it was 
also found that the 11 churches had accom- 



modation to the extent of only 12,000 sit- 
tings, while they had on their communion- 
rolls the names of 13,000 mem bens. The 
utter inadequacy of such a provision for 
their own communicants and the very 
large body of adherents began to press 
heavily on the minds of enlightened 
churchmen in the city ; while it was also 
recognised that under such conditions the 
Church was totally unable to satisfy the 
demands of new suburban districts which 
were speedily growing up. The outcome 
was the formation of the Aberdeen Church 
Extension and Territorial Home Mission 
Association, which was destined to play so 
important a part in the development and 
progress of the Established Church in the 
city. The association, encouraged by 
munificent help from Mr. James Baird of 
Auchmedden, soon planned the erection 
and endowment of five new churches — 
three to serve the new suburban districts of 
Ferryhill, Queen's Cross, and Rosemount, 
one to take the place of the defunct Trinity 
Church within the old parish bounds, and 
another to serve the dense population 
within the west parish in the neighbour- 
hood of John Street and George Street. 
It was decided to proceed with the whole 
scheme at once, but the church designed 
for the Queen's Cross district was the first 
to be erected, and it is with the subsequent 
history of it that we are here concerned. 
The origin of this church, while part of 
the general scheme, was in a certain sense 
somewhat different from that of the others. 
In some eases the Church Extension Asso- 
ciation took the initiative in erecting 
churches where they were deemed neces- 
sary, but in this instance there was also 
a local movement. A number of gentle- 
men resident in the west-end had seen the 
desirability of having an Established 
Church in the neighbourhood of Queen's 
Cross, and the fact that there was this 
feeling in the district itself made the work 
of the association easier at the outset, 
and, as will be seen later on, relieved it of 
a large part of the responsibility. One of 
the leaders in the movement was Lord 
Provost Nicol, who was then connected 
with the West Parish, and who guaranteed 
that the new church would be built on con- 
dition that Rev. Henry Cowan resigned the 
West Parish and undertook the responsi- 
bility' of the new charge at Queen's Cross. 
Mr. Cowan (now Profesor Cowan, of 
Aberdeen University) had been the moving 
spirit in the whole Church extension move- 

D 



50 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



ment, which, indeed, owed more to him 
than to anyone else, and he gave a prac- 
tical proof of his supreme desire for its 
success by agreeing to these conditions. A 
site was then secured for the church, and 
building operations were at once begun. 
A fine Gothic edifice was erected, the only 
fault that can be found with it lying in 
the fact that, seeing it occupies one of the 
most important positions in the west-end of 
the Granite City, it was built of sandstone 
instead of granite. Mr. Cowan, on re- 
signing the pastorate of the West Parish, 
went to take charge of the services at 
Ferryhill, where an iron church had been 
erected for temporary use, and where he 
rendered good service until his own build- 
ing was ready. The opening services in 
Rubislaw Church— the name chosen in pre- 
ference to Queen's Cross — were held on 
6th June, 1875, the preacher on the occa- 
sion being Rev. Professor Charteris, D.D., 
of Edinburgh University. Mr. Cowan then 
entered on the work of building up a new 
congregation. 

At that time there were only a few 
houses in the district beyond Queen's Cross, 
along with some old cottages, which have 
long since disappeared, and such country 
mansions as Kepplestone. Building, how- 
ever, soon commenced, and a new district 
rapidly sprang up. Under Mr. Cowan's 
eloquent and inspiring ministry and dili- 
gent work the new church reaped the 
benefit of the growing population, and a 
good congregation was soon gathered to- 
gether — the membership in two years' time 
reaching 278, while 500 sittings were ap- 
propriated. The committee of manage- 
ment, soon after the opening of the church , 
relieved the Church Extension Association, 
and transferred all liability to themselves. 
They saw the debt practically cleared off 
in a short time, and having received a 
grant of £1500, they became responsible 
for the additional sum required for the 
completion of the endowment and the re- 
demption of the feu-duty (about £2000 in 
all). With the approval of the Presbytery 
and by decree of the Court of Teinds of 
19th March, 1877, Rubislaw Church was 
then erected into a regular parochial 
charge. It thus became necessary to con- 
stitute a kirk ^session, and for this purpose 
Rev. George Jamieson, of Oldmachar, and 
Rev. A. Irvine Robertson, of the West 
Parish, were appointed by the Presbytery 
to act as assessors to the minister. The 
election resulted in the following being 
chosen as the first elders of the congre- 
gation, viz. — Dr. Cowan, Mr. John Drum- 
mond, Dr. Farquhar, Mr. W. B. Ferguson, 



Mr. William Gordon, Mr. Harvey Hall, 
Mr. R. Whyte Mackay, Mr. Malcolmson 
Morrison, and Mr. Wm. Paul. The steady 
increase of the membership soon made it 
clear that the accommodation would re- 
quire to be largely extended, and, en- 
couraged by the promise of a further grant 
of £1500 from the Baird trustees, the con- 
gregation resolved to proceed with the 
erection of transept galleries, the enlarge- 
ment of the choir gallery, the completion of 
the tower and spire, and the erection of 
a commodious church hall. This scheme 
was completed in course of the year 1879. 
and, notwithstanding the large outlay it 
involved in addition to the original cost 
of the building, the church was entirely 
free of debt before the end of 1881. The 
work in which the congregation took part 
at this time included not only the usual 
agencies and organisations for those within 
its own ranks, but also a certain measure 
of home mission effort. A wooden hall 
was erected at Backhill, near Rubislaw 
Quarries, where .services were regularly 
conducted and philanthropic work 
carried on until Craigiebuckler was 
disjoined and elected into a parish and 
naturally assumed jurisdiction of thi.s effort 
within its bounds. The affairs of Rubislaw 
Church continued to prosper in every way 
under Mr. Cowan : but in September. 1882, 
his successful and influential ministry came 
to an- end by his acceptance of a call to the 
parish of New Greyfriars. Edinburgh. His 
departure was viewed with extreme regret 
not only in the congregation which he had 
raised by his own personal efforts, but 
also throughout the community generally, 
for there had been no more public-spirited 
minister in the city nor one more highly 
respected for his genial courtesy and wide 
Christian sympathies. The public testi- 
monial with which he was presented on 
leaving was a remarkable tribute to the 
place he had gained in the esteem of the 
citizens, and there was widespread satis- 
faction when he returned, seven years 
later, to fill the Chair of Church History 
in the University of Aberdeen. 

The vacancy in Rubislaw Parish was not 
a prolonged one. The choice fell on Rev. 
Robert Thomson, M.A.. then minister at 
Rothesay, who accepted the call, and was 
inducted to the charge on 22nd May, 1883. 
Mr. Thomson had been a distinguished 
student at Glasgow University. In the 
divinity hall he proved the best student in 
Hebrew during the whole of the two years' 
course, taking all the special prizes, and 
he also carried off honotirs in Church his- 






a.* 



'*A*i«-C- 



APRIL 14, 1916. 



VJR ALEXANDER MACHRAY, C.A., 
ABERDEEN. 




The death occurred at hie residence, Srruan, 
2 Kuig's Gate, Aibordeca, on Tuesday of Mr 
Alexander Machray, chartered accountant. Mr 
Machray. v/iio had been ill for some time, was 
78 years of age, and was a partner of the firm 
of Meeere Cochran and Mcpherson, advocates, 
Union Street, Aberdeen. He was for over 60 
years connected with the firms of Smith and 
Cochran, Cochran and Anderson, and lattoilv 
Cochran and Macpherson. In the latter two 
firms Mr Machray was a partner. He 

\va6 one of the beet known chartered ac- 
countants in the city, and since 1874 he was a 
member of tho Society of Accounta.nls. He 
took a great interest in musical matte rs. For 
over 50 years he attended the Handel Festivals 
at the Crystal Palace, having been a member 
of the chorus for that long period. He wrote 
a book of music, and did everything possible 
to stimulate interest in the art. An elder of 
Rubisla.w Parish Church, he did much to pro- 
mote the welibci-n-g of its various organisations. 
He was predeceased by his wife, and of the 
family, a son is serving abroad with the Cana- 
dian Artillery, while his daughter is the wife 
I of Mr John Hall Barron, barrister-at-law, 
London. 



RUBISLAW PARISH CHURCH 



51 




Rev. Robert Thomson, M A. 

tory and divinity ; while he was awarded 
the Coulter Prize for the best sermon on 
a prescribed text, this competition being 
open to all students in the hall. On com- 
pletion of hie course, Mr. Thomson was for 
some time assistant to Rev. Dr. M'C'ulloch, 
Greenock, and afterwards acted in a similar 
capacity under Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod, 
in the Barony Church, Glasgow. His first 
charge was that of the North Parish, (Stir- 
ling, where he was ordained in 1866. After 
three years in that sphere, he was trans- 
lated to Rothesay, where he had given 14 
years' service when the call came to him 
from Rubislaw. Since his settlement in 
Aberdeen, Mr. Thomson has devoted him- 
self to the duties of his pulpit and pastorate 
rather than to prominent public work, but 
he has maintained his reputation as a cul- 
tured and thoughtful preacher, and in 1908 
he received the honorary degree of D.D. 
from the University of Glasgow in recog- 
nition of his attainments and service. 
Rubislaw Church, when he came to it, had 
a vigorous and thoroughly organised con- 
gregation, but the 25 years of his pas- 
torate have witnessed expansion and de- 
velopment in various directions. A splen- 
did organ was installed in 1890 at con- 
siderable cost. The instrument was in- 
augurated by Dr. Peace and dedicated by 
Rev. Dr. A. K. H. Boyd, of St. Andrews 
(then Moderator of the General Assembly), 
and Rubislaw Church since then has been 
noted for the excellence of its musical ser- 



vice. Various alterations and improve- 
ments have been made on the church fabric 
from time to time, and in 1903 a scheme 
of renovation was carried out on a largt 
scale, involving considerable outlay, all of 
which, however, has already been defrayed 
Good work has been accomplished by the 
various church agencies, and in this con- 
nection special mention must be made of 
the helpful activity displayed by the ladies 
of the congregation. Sales of work wero 
instituted in 1879, when these were less 
common than they are now, and they have 
met with increasing success year after year, 
and have been the means of raising con- 
siderable sums of money for church pur- 
poses. 

In the history of Rubislaw Church there 
can be traced the names of many well- 
known members who helped in various ways 
to make it what it is to-day. Provost Nicol 
has already been referred to as being in a 
sense the founder of the church, and 
amongst those who were associated with 
him from the first perhaps the mo6t pro- 
minent were the late Mr. R. Whyte Mac- 
kay and Mr. Harvey Hall. Mr. Mackay's 
great business capacity and statesman-like 
grasp of affairs were of the utmost value 
to the church, particularly in the early 
years of its history, and Mr. Hall as the 
first session clerk served the congregation 
with zealous ability for many years, and 
although he has now retired from that 
official position, his helpful interest is main- 
tained to the present day. In the prac- 
tical work of the congregation in later 
years, mention should also be made of the 
late Dr. T. A. Stewart, H.M. Senior In- 
spector of Schools, and Mr. William Whyte, 
Inspector of Schools, both of whom did ex- 
cellent work, not always in the public view. 

The congregation, while to some extent 
representative of all classes, includes a 
large proportion of those holding influen- 
tial positions in the professional, academic, 
and business life of the city, and its affairs 
are administered by a strong kirk-session 
and a capable board of management. Its 
future need give no cause for anxiety. 
Situated as it is. in what may be called a 
central west-end position, it is free on 
the one hand from the difficulties which 
press more heavily every year on all mid- 
town churches ; while, on the other hand, 
it does not suffer, like many suburban 
churches, from a circumscribed area of 
operation. Its position will be an enviable 
one for many years to come, and for this, 
as for many other advantageous circum- 
stances, it is indebted to the foresight of 
its founders. 

D2 



XIV.— RUTHRIESTON PARISH CHURCH. 




Ruthrieston Parish Church. 

In 1876 the kirk-session of Holbnrn 
Parish, under the minister, Rev. (now Dr.) 
J. A. M'Clymont, resolved to take steps 
to provide religious services for the out- 
lying part of the parish in the Ruthrieston 
and Bridge of Dee district. In looking 
about for a suitable meeting-place it was 
found that the old school of Ruthrieston 
could be had for the purpose from Miss 
Duthie, the donor of the Duthie Park. In 
that building services were held every 
Sunday afternoon at three o'clock, and 
were conducted either by Dr. M'Clymont 
or his assistant for two years, when it 
was found necessary, in order to develop 
the work, to secure larger accommodation. 
About this time the new church at Ferry- 
hill was almost ready for occupation, and. 
after some negotiation, the iron church 
whioh had been in use there, was secured 
for Ruthrieston, the minister and kirk- 
session of Holbnrn being assisted in the 
matter by the Home Mission Committee 
of the Church of Scotland. Through the 
friendly interest evinced in the move- 
ment by Miss Duthie, a suitable site was 
secured at a nominal rent, and the "Iron 
Kirkie," which was opened in 1881, be- 
came one of the landmarks of the district. 
Cottages have now been built upon the 
site, which was near the old Bridge of 
Ruthrieston. 

For three years after the opening of 
the iron church, Dr. M'Clymont, along 
with his assistant, kept the work going ; 



but at the end of that time it was found 
that, with the growing population, it 
would be necessary to appoint a missionary 
for the district. In May, 1881, Rev. 
Thomas Scott, M.A., was appointed to 
take charge of the Ruthrieston Mission 
Station for twelve months, but in July 
of the same year he accepted a Government 
chaplaincy at Bombay, and had to tender 
his resignation. Mr. Scott has since risen 
to the post of principal chaplain in Bengal. 
The next in charge was Rev. John Craw- 
ford, B.D., whose stay was also a brief 
one, and who likewise relinquished the 
work on being appointed to a colonial 
chaplaincy. Mr. Crawford, who is re- 
cently deceased, was for many years 
stationed at Meerut, India, where he was 
greatly esteemed both by officers and men. 
In April, 1882, Rev. W. T. W. Lowe, who 
had jii6t been licensed by the Presbytery 
of Aberdeen, was elected to Ruthrieston, 
and he continued the work until January, 
1884. when he was succeeded by Rev. 
David Lillie, B.D. Mr. Lillie gave tun 
years' service in building up the cause, 
and was afterwards appointed to the 
parish of Watten. Caithness-shire, where 
he still labours with great acceptance. In 
quick succession there came Rev. Alex- 
ander Jack, who was appointed early in 
1886, and left for Towie in September, 
1888; Rev. John Heron, B.D., who 
entered on the work in November, 1888, 
and was subsequently appointed to a 
chaplaincy in the Madras Presidency, 
whore he is still rendering very efficient 
service for our soldiers and civilians ; and 
Rev. (now Dr.) William Kean. Dr. 
Kcan figured prominently in Alexandria 
during the famous siege, and he is now 
the chief agent in Russia of the British 
and Foreign Bible Society. When at 
Ruthrieston he gave evidence of possessing 
rare scholarly gifts, and his early promise 
lias been amply fulfilled. Dr. Kean was 
succeeded in 1892 by Rev. Kenneth D. 
M'Laren, then assistant to Dr. M Clymont 
in Holbnrn Parish, who held the charge 
until his election to the parish of Saline 
in 1900, from which he was afterwards 
translated to his present charge of Cadzow, 
in the Presbytery of Hamilton. Mr. 
M'Laren has become a prominent worker 
in connection with the Church of Scot- 
land Young Men's Guild, and is now vice- 



RUTHRIESTON PARISH CHURCH 



53 



chairman of the Central Committee of 
Management. 

Amid aLl these changes in the ministry, 
the work had been steadily and vigorously 
prosecuted with a definite end in view, 
viz. — the raising of Ruthrieston to the 
status of a regular church and parish of 
the Church of Scotland. The progress of 
the scheme was marked by various stages 
of development. Before the close of the 
year 1884, the erection of a suitable 
stone and lime building to take the 
place of the iron church was formally con- 
sidered ; those in charge had, indeed, 
found themselves obliged to face the 
necessity of such a scheme on account of 
the uncomfortable conditions under which 
the services were then being held. The 
roof of the church was by no means water- 
tight, and the gas had often to be lighted 
hours before worship in order to warm 
the church sufficiently. Yet, notwith- 
standing these hindrances to the gather- 
ing of a congregation, it was some 
considerable time before any actual pro- 
gress was made towards the building of a 
new church. Difficulties of various kinds 
intervened to prevent the carrying out 
of the scheme, and nearly six years 
elapsed from the time it was first spoken 
of before the edifice was founded. The 
corner-stone of the church was laid on 
3rd September, 1890, by the Very Rev. 
Dr. A. K. H. Boyd, of St. Andrews, who 
was then Moderator of the General As- 
sembly. The ceremony was performed in 
presence of a very large company of in- 
terested spectators, and the occasion was 
rendered memorable by one of "A. K. H. 
B.'s" most striking addresses. In April, 
1891, the building, which cost £2250, was 
ready for occupation, and the preacher at 
the opening service was Rev. Professor 
(afterwards Principal) Story, of Glasgow 
University. 

Through the efforts of Dr. M'Clymont 
and the ministers who were succes- 
sively in charge of the Mission, the 
debt on the building at the date of its 
opening had been reduced to £500. By 
1898 this balance had also been raised, 
and the congregation, under the guidance 
of Rev. K. D. M'Laren, who was minister 
at the time, immediately initiated a move- 
ment for raising the necessary sum to 
complete the endowment. Shortly there- 
after, Mr. M'Laren was called to Saline, 
and when Rev. J. Morrison M'Luckie took 
up the charge there was still £300 of the 
necessary amount to raise. Throwing 
himself into the effort with enthusiasm 



and energy, Mr. M'Luckie led the con- 
gregation forward with excellent results, 
the movement being crowned with success 
by a bazaar held in December, 1901. 
The whole sum necessary to complete the 
endowment being then on hand, steps 
were taken for the erection of Ruthrieston 
into a Parish Church, and, the formalities 
having been duly gone through, the 
sanction of the Court of Teind6 was 
granted on 28th November, 1902. This 
decree was followed by the induction of a 
minister. As might be expected, the con- 
gregation unanimously and heartily chose 
Rev. J. Morrison M'Luckie, and he was 




Rev. J. Morrison M'Luckie. 

duly inducted as first minister of the 
parish of Ruthrieston on 15th January, 
1903, Rev. Dr. M'Clymont presiding on 
the occasion, and giving the charge to 
minister and people. 

Mr. M'Luckie studied at Glasgow Uni- 
versity, and before being licensed by the 
Presbytery of Hamilton, he was appointed, 
in March, 1891, to the mission station of 
Newton, in the parish of Cambuslang. He 
left, in 1897, to take up work in the West 
Indies. The charge to which he was then 
appointed by the Colonial Committee (of 
which Dr. Mitl'ord Mitchell was convener) 
was that of the Scots Church in St. 
Vincent. At that time the church had 



54 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



been closed for over fifteen years, and the 
Church of Scotland had ceased its 
ministrations, but Mr. M'Luckie was suc- 
cessful in reviving what had seemed a lost 
cause. On completing three years' ser- 
vice in the West Indies, he returned to 
this country, and shortly thereafter he 
was, as already mentioned, appointed in 
January, 1901, to the charge at Ruthrie- 
ston . 

The work of endowment having been 
completed, and Ruthrieston raised to the 
full status of a parish, Mr. M'Luckie im- 
mediately set on foot a movement to 
secure a pipe organ for the church, and 
the instrument was formally inaugurated 
on 19th April, 1903, the preachers on the 
occasion being Rev. Principal Marshall 
Lang and Rev. Professor Paterson. The 
next important scheme wss that for 
the erection of church halls. These were 
erected, according to an excellent and 
handsome design, at a cost of about £850, 
and opened in December, 1904. The con- 
gregation increased rapidly under Mr. 
MLuckie's ministry, the membership be- 
ing about doubled in four years. As a 
pastor, Mr. M'Luckie proved an assiduous 
visitor, not only among the members of 
the congregation, but throughout the dis- 
trict generally, and he gained the reputa- 
tion of being a vigorous and forceful 
preacher. He came prominently before 
the public at the School Board election of 
1903, when after a keen contest he was re- 
turned second on the poll with 11,073 
votes. This was in some respects 

the surprise of the election, and Mr. 
M'Luckie suddenly awoke to find himself 
famous in the city. His ministry at 
Ruthrieston came to a close in 1906 on his 
acceptance of a call to Wallacetown 
Church, Dundee, where he was inducted 
on 11th April, 1906. 

The vacancy at Ruthrieston was filled 
on 15th August in the same year by the 
ordination and induction of the present 
minister, Rev. J. Marshall Pryde, B.D. 
In his earlier years, Mr. Pryde made a 
special study of building construction and 
architecture, and before he reached the 
age of 21 he had gained practical working 
experience in Scotland, England, and 
America. Returning to this country in 
1894, he resolved to devote his life to the 
ministry, and after a period of tuition, he 
entered Glasgow University. There he 
was successful in taking a good place in 
his classes, winning various distinctions 
both in Arts and Divinity. He also took 
a prominent part in the work of the 



undergraduates' societies, and in Univer- 
sity life in general. During his college 
course he gained much experience of 
mission and social work in the Students' 
Settlement, founded by the late Professor 
Henry Drummond. On leaving the Univer- 
sity he became assistant to Rev. Dr. Paton, 
of St. Michael's, Dumfries, where he 
laboured for a year and a half until his 
appointment as assistant in St. George's 
Church, Glasgow. His particular charge 
was that of St. Michael's Mission Church 
in Braid Street, and his work in that 
connection attracted such attention that 




Rev. J. Marshall Pryde, B.D. 

be was summoned to give an account of it 
before the General Assembly of 1905. Be- 
fore coming to Aberdeen, Mr. Pryde was 
"locum tenons " for three months in the 
New Rothesay Parish. 

Ruthrieston Chinch is now entirely free 
of debt, the remaining portion on the halls 
having been cleared during Mr. Pryde' s 
ministry by means of a bazaar held in 
March, 1909. In 1907 the church wa6 re- 
painted and decorated, and many new 
furnishings and communion plate sup- 
plied, some of these by generous donors. 
The work of the congregation is vigorously 
prosecuted along various lines. The 
Sunday School and Bible Classes are on the 
increase, the Junior and Senior Work 
Parties and choir are large and active 



RUTH HI EST ON PARISH CHURCH 



55 



and useful. The roll of membership is less 
than it was some years ago, as the result 
of a severe purging. Mr. Pryde i6 an 
earnest preacher, with a high conception 
of his work. He regards the spiritual 
aspect of congregational life as of supreme 
importance, and he is sympathetic towards 
every worthy movement, whether inside 
or outside his own church. 

Ruthrieston has the active support of 
capable laymen. On 30th October, 1881, 
Messrs. W. H. Benson, John Gordon, and 
John Mitchell were ordained in Holburn 
Church as elders to act in connection with 
Ruthrieston Mission. Mr. Archibald Duff 
of Annfield acted as honorary treasurer 
in the early days of the movement, and 
Mr. George Leslie, seedsman, was the first 
superintendent of the Sunday School. 



When Ruthrieston became a parish the 
members of the first kirk-session were 
as follows: — Messrs. John Mitchell, 
William Coutts, James Mearns, William 
Abel, George Walker, Alexander Mor- 
rison, John M. Dunn, and Andrew John- 
ston. Mr. William Abel was appointed 
session clerk, Mr. A. J. W. Storie, S.S.C., 
clerk to the managers, and Mr. Alexander 
Simpson, church treasurer. The making 
of Ruthrieston Church what it is to-day 
has called forth much earnestness and 
energy on the part of the members, and 
the congregation is immeasurably richer 
in many ways because of what it has had 
to attempt and accomplish. It still has 
capable office-bearers and a united mem- 
bership, and great numbers of young 
people who are the hope of its future. 



XV.— ST. CLEMENT'S PARISH CHURCH. 





St. Clement's Parish Church. 

The history of St. Clement's dates from 
about the year 1498, when a chapel was 
built for the devotional use of the white 
fishers of the village of Futtie. Each fisher 
then undertook to pay one shilling yearly 
for each line, and in return the priest was 
required to celebrate two masses weekly — 
one on Sunday and another on Friday. 
After the Reformation the chapel, which 
had no endowments, was allowed to fall 
into a state of decay, and it remained 
neglected for many years, until, in 1631, 
a number of prominent citizens subscribed 
a sum sufficient to renew the building and 
make a permanent provision for a minister. 
From that time onwards there was a re- 
gular succession of ministers, who per- 
formed all the duties of the ministerial 
office, but had no right — although it was 
sometimes claimed — to sit in the Church 
Courts. In 1700 the attention of the Town 
Council was called to the fact that the St. 
Clement's Chapel was again in a ruinous 
condition, and the result was the erection 
of anew edifice. In 1828, when the church 
was raised to the dignity of a Parish Church 
by the division of the one city parish of 
St. Nicholas, another new building was 
erected — the building which is still in use 
to-day. It was considered at the time a 
very handsome edifice, with its fine belfry ; 
and the amenities wyre further improved 
by the enclosing within a boundary wall 
of the cemetery and area in front. 



The ministers of St. Clement 's from Rev. 
Alexander Ross, who was the first Protes- 
tant appointed to the charge, in 1631, have 
included in their ranks not a few men of 
considerable attainments and influence. 
The li<st is as follows: — 1631, Rev. Alex- 
ander Ross, A.M. ; 1636, Rev. Wm. Robert- 
son ; 1650, Rev. Robert Downie ; 1667, Rev. 
Wm. Mitchell ; 1683, Rev. Alexander Gray ; 
1720, Rev. James Ogilvie ; 1727, Rev. 
James Mitchell, A.M. ; 1731, Rev. Alex. 
Strachau ; 1741, Rev. George Bartlett ; 
174j. Rev. Geo. Abercrombie ; 1760, Rev. 
Wm. Bisset, A.M. ; 1765, Rev. Alex. Bur- 
nett, A.M. ; 1774, Rev. Alex. Fullerton, 
A.M. ; 1787, Rev. John Thomson, A.M. 
Among all the names, that of Rev. Dr. 
John Thomson stands out conspicuously. He 
held the position for the longest period, 
and as it was during his tenure that St. 
Clement's was created a separate parish, 
he had the distinction of being the first 
parish minister. Dr. Thomson was an 
M.D. and not a D.D., and it was said that 
when he first came among the people it 
was customary for him, on being sent for 
by the sick, to ask whether his aid was re- 
quired for the body or the soul. When 
he was appointed, in 1787, the congregation 
was a very small one, but under his stirring 
ministry the numbers greatly and rapidly 
increased. Dr. Thomson has been described 
as a little, thin man, with a distinct per- 
sonality. He was most economical in his 
habits, but sometimes carried the principle 
to excess in his parochial work. He did 
not read his sermons, but delivered them : 
and his manners of the old school, so formal 
and precise, were carried with him to the 
pulpit, his delivery and action having much 
quaintness about them. One of his favourite 
gestures during the delivery of emphatic 
passages was to throw back his head, fixing 
his eyes on a point in the roof of the church 
directly above him. while he uttered the 
first part ol the sentence, and then to 
lower his head until his eye rested on the 
floor of the pulpit, when the remaining 
portion of the sentence was enunciated, all 
this time his arms down to the elbow being 
held close to his sides, his hands directed 
upwards, with the palms outwards. This 
favourite attitude was said by the doctor's 
brethren in the city to resemble nothing 
so much as a hen holding up her head after 



ST. CLEMENT'S PARISH CHURCH 



57 



drinking. Many stories are told regarding 
Dr. Thomson's dealings with his 
parishioners — some of them humorous, and 
others illustrative both of the religious con- 
dition of the people of Futtie at the time, 
and of the doctor's method of reproof and ex- 
hortation. Dr. Thomson's death took place 
in 1838, when he was in the 80th year of his 
age and the 60th of his ministry. A year 
previously he had retired from active work, 
and Rev. Alexander Spence had been 
ordained and inducted as his colleague and 
successor. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Spence re- 
mained as minister of the parish until the 
Disruption in 1843, when he threw in his 
lot with the Free Church, and went out 
with the great majority of his congregation 
to found St. Clement's Free Church. The 
subsequent record of Dr. Spence's work for 
Futtie, and of his growing influence 
throughout the city at large, is bound up 
with the history of that church. 

The first minister of the parish after the 
Disruption was Rev. James Newlands, who 
had been schoolmaster at Foveran. He 
was settled in the charge before the close 
of the eventful year of 1843, when the 
affairs of the church were still in a chaotic 
state. Mr. Newlands had to contend at 
first with many difficulties connected with 
the upheaval in the parish and the keen 
feeling in the district, but for a time it 
looked as if his influence would be felt. His 
ministry, however, was not a success, and 
ultimately it ended under a shadow with 
his deposition in 1849. Mr. Newlands was 
succeeded by a young man of brilliant pro- 
mise—Rev. Walter Carrick, a native of 
St. Andrews. Mr. Carrick's preaching at 
once attracted attention. " In his preach- 
ing," writes Mr. Carnie, "he drew very 
effective illustrations from the heavenly 
bodies in their courses, and to see him, 
pale, spare of form, wrapt in his work, his 
outstretched arm, with finger pointing 
heavenward during a fervent burst of 
adoration, was a pidpit picture not to be 
soon forgotten." Mr. Carrick was develop- 
ing oratorical gifts of rare distinction, and 
a great future seemed to be opening out 
before him, when he was suddenly cut down 
in the flower of his youth. He was ordained 
minister of St. Clement's on 27th Decem- 
ber, 1849, and he died on 16th June, 1850. 
His ministry, extending, as it did, to less 
than six months, is the shortest in the his- 
tory of the church— but, perhaps, not the 
least in its impression on the parish. The 
memory of it has not altogether faded even 
yet. 

The next minister was Rev. James 



Fraser, a local man, who took an 
important and influential part in public 
life during his connection with St. 
Clement's. In the Aberdeen Pres- 

bytery and Synod he figured along 
with Rev. John Marshall Lang, of the 
East Parish (afterwards Principal Lang), as 
one of the ablest debaters, and these two 
young men by their intellectual resources 
and powers of speech rather surprised the 
older members of the courts. The burning 
controversy over the proposed fusion of 
King's and Marischal Colleges took place 
in Mr. Eraser's time, and he was in the 
heart of the fray, fighting for what he be- 
lieved to be the right with magnificent 
courage and vigour. It was a disappoint- 
ment to the congregation of St. Clement's 
and to very many in the city who had no 
connection with the parish when Mr. 
Fraser, in 1861, accepted a call to St. 
John's Parish, Glasgow. In the wider 
sphere in which he was placed in that city 
he soon made an impression, but after a 
few years his health failed, and he was glad 
to remove to the lighter charge of St. 
Michael's, Dumfries. The change, how- 
ever, had not been made in time. Mr. 
Fraser preached only twice in Dumfries 
when he was laid aside by the illness which 
proved fatal. His death, in 1867, before he 
had reached his 50th year, was mourned 
by many, and by none more than by his 
former friends in Aberdeen. 

In 1862, Rev. John Wilson Hep- 
burn, from Kilmun, was appointed 
to St. Clement's; but his ministry 
was a troubled one, and round it 
there raged for a time a heated contro- 
versy in the Church Courts. Mr. Hepburn 
was a man of genial temperament, and 
was personally popular in the parish. In 
1870, however, he was brought before the 
Presbytery on several charges of drunken- 
ness, embracing a period of several years ; 
and ultimately by a majority he was found 
guilty. An appeal having been intimated, 
the case went before the higher courts, but 
the decision of the Presbytery was ratified , 
and the painful proceedings were brought 
to a close with the deposition of Mr. Hep- 
burn from the ministry. 

The vacancy thus caused in St. Clement's 
was filled by the election of Rev. G. F. I. 
Philip, then minister of the parish of 
Skene. Mr. Philip had a difficult task 
facing him, but he soon triumphed over 
every obstacle. The membership of the 
church had been considerably reduced 
owing to the troublous times through which 
the congregation had passed. Under Mr. 
Philip, however, the tide of adversity 



58 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



turned. He found the communion-roll with 
only some 500 names, and when he left it 
contained nearly 2000. So marked had 
been his success that when the Presbytery 
of Deer were in a strait regarding a hotly- 
disputed election for the Parish Church of 
New Deer, they summoned him to step into 
the breach. He accepted the Presbytery's 
invitation, and left for New Deer after a 
ministry of nearly nine years in Footdee. 




Rev. Dr. C. C. Macdonald. 

On 11th September, 1879, Rev. Charles 
Cadell Macdonald, of the South Church, 
Paisley, was elected minister of St. 
Clement's, and he continues to hold the 
position still. To say that he has filled a 
unique place in the community is only to 
state the barest truth. He has played 
many parts, and honours have come to him 
without stint. The University has made 
him aD.D., and throughout the community 
the academical distinction was regarded as 
fittingly bestowed. Yet to the great bulk 
of the citizens the minister of St. Clement's 



is still " 0. C," and this is not one of the 
least of the proofs that he has so surely im- 
pressed his personality on the city. As a 
platform orator Dr. Macdonald in his 
palmy days had, perhaps, no equal in Aber- 
deen, and at political meetings, in the days 
when he was an ardent Liberal, the pro- 
ceedings seldom closed without cries for a. 
speech from " C. C." Latterly he hat; 
figured less in public, but has been devot- 
ing himself to the work of the Church 
Courts, and in the local Presbytery he is 
now one of the leaders. He is also known 
in the General Assembly, and in the days 
when Disestablishment was a burning ques- 
tion there was no more eloquent voice to 
be heard on Church Defence either in the 
Assembly Hall or on platforms throughout 
the country than that of Dr. Macdonald. 
These days are now but memories, although 
Dr. .Macdonald, when occasion demands, 
can show that he has more than a spark of 
the old fire yet. 

The district of Footdee is not what it 
once was. The revolution of its industries, 
the migration of the population to other 
parts of the city, and various other in- 
fluences have all told severely ; and what has 
affected the district has affected the church. 
Its membership is still large, but it is no 
longer in the same sense the church of a 
resident population. The members are 
scattered all over the city, and their con- 
nection, perhaps, in too many cases is. in 
consequence, largely a nominal one. To 
this fact also may be attributed the un- 
satisfactory attendances at the ordinary- 
diets of worship, which sometimes give 
cause for complaint : while the life and 
activities of the congregation have un- 
doubtedly suffered from the same cause. 
We are far from the days when the Church 
of St. Clement's was in the heart of a 
community of its own, and readily found a 
response from the fishers of Footdee, whom 
it was primarily designed to serve. To- 
day it has to take its place as one of the 
city churches, and while there may be in- 
stances where this has meant advancement 
and progress, it may be questioned whether 
in the case of St. Clement's the disadvan- 
tages have not outweighed the gains. 



XVI— ST. FITTICK'S CHURCH (CHAPEL OF EASE). 




St. Fittick's Parish Church. 

Many generations have come and gone 
since a St. Fittick's Church first stood on 
the south side of the River Dee at Aber- 
deen. Early in the thirteenth century a 
building erected within sight of the sea 
a.i it rolls inward in the picturesque Bay 
of Nigg was by imposing ceremonial de- 
dicated to religious uses for all time com- 
ing. In the course of its history this 
sacred edifice witnessed the temporary 
rise and fall of several different forms of 
Church government, and came under the 
control of each in turn. It was originally 
consecrated by the ritee of the Roman 
Catholic Church, and for fully three 
centuries the priests of Rome ministered 
within its walls. From the Reformation 
onwards for another century and a half 
il was under the sway of Episcopacy. 
Then, in July, 1716, Presbyterian 
ministers took the oversight of the 
church, and the ordinances of Pres- 
byterianism were administered until 1829, 
when the building was finally abandoned, 
and the Church of Nigg was opened to 
supply the religious needs of the district. 
Since then old St. Fittick's has been de- 
serted — it6 ruins forming one of the land- 
marks of the bay, but before the 
nineteenth century ran to its close a new 
St. Fittick's had arisen to meet tha 
necessities of a new age. 

With the opening of the Victoria 
Bridge, and, more particularly, with the 
phenomenal progress made by the fishing 
industry in Aberdeen, a great population 
speedily gathered on the south side of the 



Dee, and the whole district was suddenly 
transformed — 

Where yesterday the fields were ploughed, 
And cattle strayed and trees were green, 

To-day, in dinsome streets, a crowd 
Of bustling city folks is seen. 

The churches had to face these new con- 
ditions, and to make provision for the 
large population thus gathered from all 
parts of the country. The Church of 
Scotland, it has been admitted, was some- 
what late in taking action, but the pro- 
priety of taking action had been under 
consideration for some time before any- 
thing was actually done. 

Rev. Hugh M. Smith, minister of Nigg, 
was the first to make a practical advance 
in the matter. On 13th May, 1894, Mr. 
Smith started fortnightly Sunday evening 
services in a wooden hall near Pierhead, 
Torry, and these were well attended for 
a time. The meeting-place, however, was 
uncomfortable and unsuitable in every 
way, and the result was that the attend- 
ances fell off until the services had to be 
discontinued. At a meeting of the Pres- 
bytery of Aberdeen on 25th September, 
1894, the necessity of Church extension 
in Torry was urged upon the Presbytery 
and the kirk-session of Nigg by the 
General Assembly's Commission on the Re- 
ligious Condition of the People. On the 
matter coming formally before the session 
of Nigg, a committee, consisting of the 
members of session resident in Torry, was 
appointed to co-operate with the Church 
Extension Committee of the Presbytery. 
Very little, however, was done until the 
beginning of 189(5, when the matter had 
become one of urgency by reason of the 
extraordinary increase of the population 
of Torry. On 28th March in that year a 
public meeting was called to take the 
initial steps for the raising of a new 
church, and a local committee was ap- 
pointed to act along with the Church Ex- 
tension Committee of the Presbytery. Pro- 
gress was still comparatively slow, but in 
course of time a site was secured in 
Walker Road, and on 19th November, 
1898, the foundation-stone of the church 
was laid by Mr. Laucblan M'Kinnon, jun., 
the convener of the Presbytery's Church 
Extension Committee. 



60 



THE CHURO&ES OF ABE1WEES 



The building was designed by Mr. A. 
H. L. Mackinnon, architect. The plan6 
provided for a church in the Gothic style 
of architecture, which when completed 
would contain 818 sittings, the part to be 
built at once to provide for 550 sittings 
at a 006t of about £2000. Within a year 
of the commencement of building opera- 
tions the church was ready for use, the 
dedication service taking place on 24th 
November, 1899. The preacher on the 
occasion was Rev. Dr. Mitford Mitchell, 
who, during his ministry in Aberdeen, 
took a warm interest in furthering the 
scheme. The other officiating clergymen 
on the occasion were Rev. D. H. Brodie, of 
John Knox Church, Moderator of Pres- 
bytery; Rev. Gordon J. Murray, of Grey- 
friars; and Rev. Hugh M. Smith, of 
Nigg. iwo days later the opening ser- 
vices were conducted by Dr. Mitford Mit- 
chell and Rev. Hugh M. Smith. 

For some months pulpit 6upply was 
given by members of the Presbytery and 
others, and in this connection reference 
may be made to the assistance to the new 
charge in many ways rendered by Rev. Dr. 
(.'aider, of Oldmachar. Dr. Calder was 
really the prime mover in securing pro- 
vision by the Church of Scotland for 
church extension in Torry, and as convener 
of the Committee of Presbytery he was one 
of the most indefatigable and helpful sup- 
porters of the movement throughout. 
Amongst the most active promoters of the 
church were the following three residents 
in the district (all of whom are now dead) 
— Mr. Peter (Van, commission agent ; Mr. 
Andrew Noble, grocer; and Mr. John B. 
Fairweather, session clerk of Nigg. In due 
course steps were taken towards secur- 
ing a minister for the church. On 11th 
April, 1900, Rev. Archibald Macintyre, 
M.A., assistant in the High Parish, 
Paisley, was, by a vote of the members of 
the church resident in Torry, appointed 
minister of St. Fittick's as a mission 
church. When, by the act of the General 
Assembly, St. Fittick's became a Chapel 
of Ease, the appointment of the first 
minister was vested in the kirk-session 
of Nigg, which formally appointed Mr 
Macintyre on 27th June, 1900. 

Mr. Macintyre, who is a native of Coat- 
bridge, studied both in arts and divinity 
at Glasgow University. On completing his 
course he was appointed in 1895 as 
assistant to Rev. A. Montgomerie Lang, 
B.Sc, of the High Church, Paisley, where 
he entered on the practical duties of the 
ministry with the enthusiasm char- 



acteristic of his subsequent career. In 
that important and influential charge he 
gained the reputation of being an ex- 
cellent preacher, while he also won ap- 
preciation by hi6 marked diligence in visi - 
ing and his skill and success as a teacher 
oi youth. On leaving Paisley, after four 
years' service, to undertake the charge < f 
St. Fittick's, the congregation of the 
Higli Church gave practical expression to 
its good wishes for his future. 




Rev. Archibald Macintyre. M.A. 

Before the first minister of St Fit-tick's 
there lay a task of no mean magnitu.i •. 
The number of original members at the 
first celebration of the Communion, in 
March, 1900, was only 65, and he had t.ais 
to begin his work with no support in 
numerical strength, and with a church, 
burdened with a heavy debt. The lio 
members in 1900 had become 534 by the 
end of 1904, the increase having begun 
at once and continued steadily. A Sun- 
day School was instituted, and it has 
proved one of the most successful agencies 
of the church; and, later on, a company 
of the Boys' Brigade was formed in con- 
nection with the congregation. A Ladies' 
Work Party has existed since 1900, and it 
has served the church well, the most out- 
standing effort Ut which it contributed be- 
ing the three-days' bazaar held in the 



St Fitticks Church. 



A CREAT ENDOWMENT EFFORT.; 



By " Ecclesiasticus." 

The Church of Scotland has a fine record in 
Aberdeen in connection with church extension. 
Thirty years after the disruption there were 
only eleven Established Churches in the city, 
but with the formation of the Aberdeen Church 
Extension and Territorial Home Minion Ass- 
ociation a forward movement began, with which 
the name of Professor Cowan will ever be 
honourably associated. The association, with 

generous finanoial help from the Baird Trust, 
planned and carried out a great scheme of 
church extension, which has left an indelible 
mark on the ecclesiastical life of the city. The 
Ferryhill, Rubislaw, Rosemount, and St George- 
in-the-West churches were the direct and im- 
mediate result of the movement then inaugu- 
rated, and the resuscitation of Trinity Parish 
was also the fruit of this great effort. Marino- 
field, Paw is, and St Ninian'a followed at later 
dates, and in every case the endowment was 
completed and the ohurches raised to the status 
of a quoad sacra parish. The assistance of the 
Presbytery and of the churches generally was 
ireely given to bring about this happy state of 
affairs, and now their interest and support are 
being concentrated on the final effort to place 
St Fittick's on the same footing, and raise the 
only Chapel of Ease within the city to the full 
dignity of a parish, with all the rights and pri- 
vileges pertaining thereto. 

The Church of St Fittick's is really an off- 
shoot from tho Parish Church of Nigg, and 
surely there never was a more clamant call for 
church extension. The phenomenal rise of 
Torry, with its seething population, created an 
entirely new aspect south of the Dee, and fur- 
ther church aooommodation in this new indus- ' 
trial centre became an absolute necessity. The ! 
Rev. Hugh M. Smith, minister of Nigg, took 
the initial steps, and he soon enlisted sufficient 
support — the Rev. Dr Calder. of Oldmachar, 
taking a specially prominent and helpful interest 
in the matter — to be r^ble to launch the scheme. 
The church was opened on November 24, 1899, 
by the Rev. Dr Mitford Mitchell. 

The first minister was the Rev. Archibald 
Macintyre, who was appointed on June 27, 
1900 Mr Macintyre worked assiduously in the 
raising of money to clear off the debt on the 
building fund, and a three-days bazaar held in 
the Music Hall in December, 1901, realised the 
sum of over £700. In 1908 Mr Macintyre 
acoepted a call to Tingwall, Shetland, and the 
Rev. Augustus J. Kesting, who had been a 
missionary at Blantyre, Central Africa, "^s 
appointed his successor. Mr Keating held 
tha charge of St Fittioke from 1908 till 
1911, when he became minister of the 
Scots Church in Paris. The present minister, 
the Rev. John Gordon, M.A., was formerly 
minister of the second charge of Culross Abbey. 
He came to St Fittick's with a valuable ex- 
perience of the practical duties of the ministry, 
and he has thrown himself into the work in 
| Torry with great devotion. From the outset, 
Mr Gordon realised that the congregation 
would be handicapped in its efforts for the | 
good of the district until it was free from 
anxiety regarding financial burdens, and able 
to put forth its energy in practical aggressive 
work. He, therefore, set himself to the great 
task of carrying through the endowment, and 



he nas shown himself to be possessed of great 
resource, and untiring zeal and enthusiasm. He 
has commanded the admiration of all the 
churches by his persistent labours and it is 
due to him that so general a measure of sup- 
port has already been given to this supreme 
effort of St Fittick's. 

As the result of periodical collections and vari- 
ous special efforts, the congregation has already 
on hand about £600. The sum of £1000 is still 
needed to complete the endowment, and it is 
to raise this amount that the bazaar is being 
held this week. All the city churches are <£ 
operating in the effort and widespread support 
is already assured. The Church of Scotland 
which has done so well for its extension charges, 
is not likely to fail St Fittick's. The oongreW 
tion deserves well of the church and of the com- 
munity. It is largely-indeed almost exdu^eTy 
iH , ^T^ g 1 Ia - SS ««W«»gStion ; it is situated 
in a district where it is urgently needed, and it 

to UTlH *,** l reed fram ite P^ e ^ fetter 
with th r - leVOte ^ orgies to grappling 



St Fittick's as a New Parish of 
Aberdeen, a*/ 

M/»*-//r 



In the Court of Teinds on Friday tho prayer 
of the petition was granted in an application 
for Peter Howie, 69 Fontbill Road, Aberdeen, 
and others, for tho disjunction and erection of 
St Fittick's quoad sacra, in the Presbytery of 
Aberdeen. St Fittick's Church, in the parish 
of Nkrg. was built about 14 years ago at a cost 
of £2357. The ] aiish of Nig,? contains 
a population of. 13,000, and the district dis- 
joined a population of 11,000. The church is 
seated for 522 worshippers, and the communi- 
cants number 714. The Rev. John Gordon, 
M.A., the present incumbent, who was inducted 
in 1911, is to bo the first minister. 

The Clerk of Teinds reported on the 
sufficiency of the security offered for the endow- 
ment of the new parish and for the maintenance ' 
of the fabrics. 

Counsel for the petitioners— Mr Burnet. | 
Agcr.ts— Dalgleish, Dobbie, and Co., S.S.C. 



New. Kincardineshire Parish. 

ST FITTICK'S, TORRY. 

The Presbytery of Aberdeen met on 
Thursday of last week in St Mary's Chapel, 
to make arrangements for the admission of 
the Rev. John Gordon, M.A., to the newly- 
erected parish of St Fittck's, and the for- 
mation of a kirk-session. The Rev. J. K. 
Wilkin, Rosemount, was moderator. 

The ckrk (the Rev. J. T. Cox) explained 
the procedure, and moved that_ the Presby- 
tery recognise Mr Gordon as minister of the 
new church and parish of St Fittick's, and 
add his name to the roll, in accordance with 
the deed of constitution. He (Mr Cox) had 
received a letter from Professor Cowan, the 
convener of the General Assembly's En- 
dowments Committee, regretting that a 
previous engagement prevented him from 
attending the meeting, and conveying his 
hearty congratulations to the minister and 
congregation of St Fittick's on their being 
erected into an endowed parochial charge, 
and on Mr Gordon becoming a member of 
Presbytery. Mr Gordon, the committee of 
management, those who had acted as eld- 
ers, and the general membership of St Fit- 
tick's, had earned the sympathy of the 
Church in Aberdeen by their persevering 
efforts, now crowned with success, to secure 
the endowment of the charge, and by their 
personal liberty and enterprise. Their best 
wishes were with them for the future as in 
the past. The Presbytery, added Mr Cox, 
heartily concurred in those words. They 
offered to Mr Gordon and his congregation 
their heartiest congratulations. (Applause). 
They had had a long and stiff pull, but it 
was very pleasing that their efforts had at 
last been crowned with success. They had 
had a good many kind friends outside the 
congregation, both within and without the 
bounds of the Presbytery of Aberdeen. At 
the same time he did hot think that they 
received assistance from the more well-to- 
do members of the Church within Aberdeen 
that they had a right to expect, otherwise 
St Fittick's would have been a parish 
church several years ago. 

CHURCH'S DUTY TO FISHERMEN. 

The Rev. George Walker seconded the 
motion, and joined in the congratulations 
which had been offered to Mr Gordon and 
the congregation of St Fittick's that at last 
their laudable aspirations had been at- 
tained, and St Fittick's had been erected 
into a parish of the Church of Scotland. 
The work of endowment had been very ex- 
tensive in Aberdeen. That work had been 
prosecuted during a great number of years, 
and was originated by the energy of Pro- 
fessor Cowan. St Fittick's was tne last of 
a long series of churches which had been 
erected in accordance with that effort of 
church extension. It must be a source of 
great gratification to the Presbytery to know 
that St Fittick's had been endowed upon 
the highest scale of the Endowment Com- 
mittee of £160 a year, which provided at 
anyrate a handsome nucleus for the income 
of the minister there for all time coming. 



They all saw the necessity oT having a 
strong parish church in their great fishing 
suburb. They knew what they owed to the 
fishermen of Torry, and if these fishermen 
imperilled their lives on the seas to provide 
that which was necessary for their well- 
being, it was the least the Church could do, 
surely, to take an interest in them spirit- 
ually. Mr Gordon was now entitled to a 
seat in the Presbytery, and they were con- 
fident that he was thoroughly well qualified 
to occupy the first position as minister of St 
hittick's. They were assured that under 
his energy, and with his sympathy, his <«- 
pansive nature, and manifold capabilities, 
the church which he bow had the pleasure 
of seeing erected into a parish church would 
continue to prosper even more vigorously 
than it had done in the past. (Applause). 
The Rev. Hugh M. §€ett, Nigg; the Rev 
Maxwell J. Wright, St Ninian's; and Mr 
George Gall (elder), added their hearty con- 
gratulations to Mr Gordon and the congre- 
gation of St Fittick's. 

Mr Gordon acknowledged the heartiness 
of the congratulations; the Rev. Mr Smith 
the Rev. Mr Wright, the Rev. Mr Wilkin, 
and Mr James Wood, the representative 
elder from Nigg, were appopted assessors 
to act along with Mr Gordon for the forma- 
tion of a kirk-session, and to fix the rate «f 
sittings in St Fittick's. 

f 'A 



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^, 



?/(, 



ST. FITTICK'S CHURCH (CHAPEL OF EASE) 



Gl 



Music Hall in December, 1901, when the 
sum of over £700 was realised. 

The original trustees of the church were 
Mr. Alexander Christie, Mr. James Coutte, 
and Mr. Peter Howie; but Mr. Christie 
died before he assumed the duties, and Mr. 




Rev. Augustus J. Resting, B.D. 

Thomas Lamb was appointed in his place. 
The first elders were Messrs. William 
Bisset, James Clark, James Coutte, George 
Craig, Adam Gibb, William Lemmon, and 
James Melville, who were ordained and 
inducted to office on 24th March, 1901. 

Mr. Macintyre continued to labour at 
the work of debt reduction and at the 
general development of the congregation 
until 1908, when he accepted a call to the 
church of Tingwall, in Shetland. 



The vacancy at St. Fittick's was filled 
by the election of Rev. Augustus J. Rest- 
ing, B.D. Mr. Resting had been a dis- 
tinguished student at Aberdeen Univer- 
sity, and his first experience of ministerial 
work had also been gained in the city as 
assistant in the West Parish. Being im- 
bued with the missionary spirit, he offered 
himself for service in the foreign field, 
and in 1897 was ordained as a missionary 
for Blantyre, Central Africa. There he 
rendered good service for a number of 
years, but it was found that his health 
was injuriously affected by the climate, 
and he was compelled to relinquish the 
work. After his return to this country, 
and before his appointment to St. 
Fittick's, he acted for some time as 
assistant to Rev. Dr. Campbell, Rirkcaldy, 
with special charge of St. John's Mission 
Church. Mr. Resting's settlement at St. 
Fittick's took place on 9th October, 1908, 
and on the following Sunday he was in- 
troduced to the congregation by Rev. 
Gavin Lang, of Inverness. 

The congregation of St. Fittick's has 
struggled bravely to rid it6elf of its 
burden of debt, and the result of its efforts 
has been entirely creditable seeing that 
the membership is composed almost ex- 
clusively of the working classes. It is 
still, however, fettered to some extent, 
but there is a prospect of assistance being 
forthcoming to enable it to devote itself 
to the practical work Ling to its hand. 
Torry has been developing so rapidly in 
many ways that it will soon have pro- 
blems of its own, and the Church that is 
to grapple with them must be free of 
anxiety regarding building schemes and 
financial burdens, and able to concentrate 
its energy on practical congregational 
and aggressive work. 



XVII— ST GEORGE'S = IN-THE = WEST PARISH CHURCH. 




St. George's-in-the-West Parish Church. 

The name of this church is derived from 
the important and busy George Street off 
which it stands and from the West Parish 
which gave it birth. The proposal to 
raise a new congregation in the George 
Street district of the city was taken up 
with great heartiness by the members of 
the West Church during the ministry of 
Rev. Henry Cowan (now Professor 
Cowan), and the interest was maintained 
during the ministries of his successors — 
Rev. A. Irvine Robertson and Rev. J. R. 
Mitford Mitchell. There had never been 
a Chapel of Ease within the West I'arish, 
but it was felt that something ought u 
be attempted in the way of Church ex- 
tension. The ministers of the West were 
specially prominent in their support of the 
movement. Dr. Cowan was largely in- 
strumental in securing it6 initiation ; Dr. 
Irvine Robertson furthered its prospects 
with great heartiness; and Dr. Mitford 
Mitchell helped to bring it to a successful 
completion, and in many ways used his 
influence on its behalf. A site having 
been selected in John Street, within a 
stone-throw from George Street, building 
operations were begun in 1877. and the 
edifice of Gothic design, which cost £3000, 
was ready for occupation within a year. 

The district in which the church was 
planted had been known in bygone days 
as the Lochlands. The loch itself, n 
stagnant pool, was originally of consider- 



able dimensions, but half a century ago it 
was merely a dark, deep stream extending 
from Spring-Garden to the foot of St. 
Paul Street, and crossed from the George 
Street side by several wooden bridges. 
With the passing of the years, the district 
became the resort of penny theatres, 
menageries, and all manner of travelling 
shows. In the midst of these there were 
planted the places of worship of various 
denominations. The Zion Chapel of Rev. 
Hugh Hart, the Unitarian, and other 
chapels were to be found in close 
proximity, until the orthodox of these 
days styled it the Heresy Corner of Aber- 
deen. Nearly all these passed away ii. 
turn, and the locality was covered with 
dwelling-houses, and became the centre <. i 
a dense working-class population. Mr. 
William Cadenhead ha6 aptly 'ouched on 
the transformation of the district in hie 
lines : — 

Behold the change! — the Loch's away. 

And youths would scarcely dream 
That what is now a spacious street 

Was once a sluggish stream. 

Improvement reigns. Fair fabrics rise 
All round; and, 'mong the rest, 

Stands prominent, yet half-retired. 
St. George' s-in -the West. 

The church was opened on 8th Sept- 
ember. 1878, by Rev. Dr. Burns, of Glas- 
gow Cathedral, the other officiati-ig 
ministers on the occasion being Rev. J. 
R. Mitford Mitchell, of the West Parish: 
Rev. Henry Cowan, of Rubislaw ; and 
Rev. A. Irvine Robertson, of Clack- 
mannan. Curious to say, among the con- 
gregation at the first service was the 
future first minister of the new church, 
Rev. James Smith. B.D., then assistant 
in the West Parish. The nucleus of a con- 
gregation was found in thirteen members, 
who had come from other parishes in th° 
city — two from the East, four from Grey- 
friars, two from Oldmachar, and five from 
Gilcomston. The first trustees of the 
church were Dean of Guild Alexander 
Walker, Mr. John Robertson, advocate : 
and Mr. J. G. Chalmers — all elders of the 
West Parish. The next step wa6 the 
selection of a minister for the new con- 
giegation, and on 18th December, 187S, 
the committee of the Aberdeen Church 
Extension Association unanimously offered 



VOLUNTEERS AT CHURCH. 



Lonf Provosf s Tribute to City 
Battalion. 

The Aberdeen Volunteers attended a special 
thanksgiving service in St George-in-the-Wes* 
Parish Church yesterday, the unite represented 
being the City of Aberdeen R.G.A., the 1st . 
Battalion of the City Regiment, and the Army ^ 
Scrvkw Corps (Motor Transport). The men, N 
n-ambering about 400, paraded at the Drill Hall, 
Hardgate, and, preceded by the pipe band, 
marched to the ofiurch. Colonel Lschlan Mao- 
kinaian, the commandant; Lord Provost Sir 
James Taggart, president of the City Territorial 
Force Aeeooiarion ; and LiewL-Co±ce>el R. W. 
Walker -were present. 

The Lord Provost, on behalf of the cdtbaerai 
and hknseif , thanked the Volunteero for tha 
splenddd service they had rendered daring the 
war. They all felt fairly safe when they knew J 
they had & body of trained men ki their midst — ■ ^ 
men of experience and intelligence — who would "^ 
be able to take action should any emergency 
arise. They had now laki down their arms, 
and be trusted they would never be required to i * 
take tbem up again. v VI i 

The Old Testament and New Testament lea- , ^ 
sons were read by Sir James Taggart and Col. Ui 
Mackinnon respectively. ^ 

Sir .James Taggart marched with the regi- 
ment to headquarters at the Hardgate, and 
took the salute. 



<K 



5 



ST. GEORGE'S-IN-THE-WEST I'MURII CHURCH 



63 



the appointment to the Rev. James Smith. 
B.D., then assistant in the West Parish, 
the representative of a family whose 
pedigree in Aberdeen is traceable back to 
1560, and a grandson of two men well 
known in their day, Treasurer Lewis 
Smith, bookseller and stationer, and Mr 
A. W. Chalmers, Governor of Aberdeen 
Prisons from 1826 to 1862. His father- 
Mr. James Smith — was the eldest son as 




Rev. James Smith, B.D. 

well as the partner in business of Mr. 
Lewis Smith, and in his day a celebrated 
amateur violinist. Mr. Smith intimated 
his acceptance, and his ordination and 
induction took place on 20th February, 
1879. Since then the record of St. 
George's-in-the-West has been one of 
phenomenal progress. The little one has 
become a thousand. The original member- 
ship of thirteen has steadily grown, until 
at 31st December, 1908, the communion 
roll contained no fewer than 1622 names. 
The endowment was completed in 1880, 
and St. George's-in-the-West was then 
raised to the status of a parish church. 
In 1882 a parish mission was opened in 
Windv Wynd, in 1885 the church was 
repainted and decorated (it was again 
decorated and electric lighting in- 
troduced in 1907), and in 1889 a pipe 



organ was installed and a new pulpit 
erected. To meet the requirements of the 
many parish agencies, a Church Hall was 
erected in 1902 at a cost of £1200, the 
opening being signalised by a bazaar in 
aid of the building fund. 

Rev. James Smith, B.D., F.R.G.S . 
F.S.A. (Scot.), the fir.st and only minister 
of St. George's-in-the-West, is a notable 
instance of a prophet who is honoured in 
his own country. He was born in Aber- 
deen and educated in Aberdeen, he 
graduated in Aberdeen, his on? assistant- 
sliip was in Aberdeen, and his whole career 
as a parish minister has been spent in 
Aberdeen. He is minister of a district 
where, 250 years ago, some of his ancestors 
farmed the land towards Mounthooly 
and the Gallowgate Port; and he is re- 
lated in one way or another to most of 
the oldest Aberdeen families, who laid the 
foundations of Aberdeen's modern great- 
ness. His rare gifts as an organiser and 
administrator have been proved by the 
manner in which he has not only built the 
great congregation of St. George's-in-the- 
West, but has so developed its activities 
that it is now the centre of a network of 
religious and philanthropic agencies. He 
has watched over the fortunes of Fhe 
church with assiduous care and attention, 
and he has been the leader in each new 
movement for the improvement of the 
fabric, until every stone has become 
familiar to him. Mr. Smith is known to 
the public in several capacities. He is an 
F.S.A. (Scot.), and an F.R.G.S. ; a mem- 
ber of the Council of the New Spalding 
Club, a Director of the Dispensary, Act- 
ing Chaplain and First Commissioned 
Chaplain of the Royal Army Medical 
Corps (T.F.), a Member of the Aberdeen 
Provincial Committee for the Training of 
Teachers and of the Burgh Committee on 
Secondary Education, local lion, secretary 
of the Palestine Exploration Fund, and a 
lecturer both for it and the Egypt Ex- 
ploration Fund, and he takes a warm in- 
terest in the University Council, Philoso- 
phical Society, the local Press, and genea- 
logical and antiquarian subjects. As a 
member of the School Board he is serving 
the community in a sphere which is con- 
genial to his tastes, and in which he finds 
fitting exercise for his gifts as a man of 
affairs. He has become known as an 
author who has illuminated for his 
readers Palestine. Egypt, and Italy — "a 
veritable Ulysses among ministers, who 
has written his own Odyssey." In the 
public life of the city in its various 



64 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



aspects he takes a keen interest, and the 
Church Courts have likewise an attraction 
for him. Yet, it is in St. George's-in-t he- 
West, of which he is in a very real sense 
the founder, that his chief interest in life 
has lain. 

Mr. Smith has had the oo-operation and 
support from time to time of able and 
vigorous assistants, many of whom now 
fill important spheres of their own. The 
list of those who have filled this position in 
St. George's-in-the-West includes the 
names of Rev. Alexander Black, M.A. ; 
Rev. James Black, M.A., Inverurie; Rev. 
William Grant, B.D., Drumblade; Rev 
James Coutts, B.D., Wormit; Rev. Alex- 
ander Ross, B.D., Pulteneytown ; Rev. P. 
S Bisset, B.D., Craig, Montrose ; Rev 
D. D. Maedonald, B.D., Dundee; Rev. R 
M. Souter, B.D., Birsay ; Rev. William 
Fraser, St. Stephen's, Inverness; Rev 
William Metcalfe, B.D., Closeburn, Dum- 
fries; Rev. Robert Davidson, M.A.. 
Huntly; and Rev. W. I). Frater, M.A. 

The congregation of St. George's-in-the- 
West is in a high state of organisation 
It has many agencies, and most of them 
— notably those for the young — are carried 
on with marked success. The Sunday 
Schools are attended by over 1000 
children, and there is a membership of be- 
tween 400 and 500 in the various guilds 
for young men and women. During the 
quarter of a century of the congregation's 
history over 2000 young communicants 
have passed into the membership of the 
church. The Fellowship and Mutual Im- 
provement Associations, the Mothers' 
Meeting, the Ladies' Work Party, the 
Girls' Industrial Class, and the Ladies' 
Visiting Association are eacli doing ex- 
cellent work both for the congregation 



and for the people of the district. The 
parish mission is well supported and 
vigorously worked, and it is proving a 
feeder to the church. The church is not- 
able for the beauty of its interior, for the 
largeness of its attendance, and for the 
excellence of the service of praise, upon 
which the minister, who is himself a 
musician of some ability, lavishes 
affectionate regard and attention. 

St. George's-in-the-West is a thoroughly 
practical congregation. It is mainly com- 
posed of the working classes, and in many 
respects it ha6 proved a pattern to other 
churches. It is in a very real sense a 
territorial church, drawing it6 membership 
largely from its immediate surroundings, 
and influencing the district by its many 
organisations. Much of its energy has 
hitherto been expended in efforts for the 
erection and equipment of its buildings. 
These are now completed, the only scheme 
still in view being the erection of a church 
spire. This may come in due course, but 
meantime the congregation i6 applying it- 
self to the extension and diligent pro- 
secution of its work. Further numerical 
increase to any great extent can scarcely 
be looked for. The aim must rather be 
the consolidation of the present member- 
ship, and the further development or re- 
ligious and philanthropic activity. St. 
Georges-in-the-West enjoys the distinction 
of being the largest congregation ever 
raised in Aberdeen under a single 
ministry, the only church out of five then 
erected that has been able to keep its £rst 
minister true to it. as well as one of the 
most successful of the younger churches of 
the Church of Scotland in Aberdeen ; and 
there is every renson to believe that it win 
fully maintain its reputation. 



A FAMOUS ABERDEEN FAMILY. 
Interesting Genealogical Record. 

The Rev. James Smith, B.D., minister of St! 
George's-in-the-Wost, has prepared for private ; 
circulation an exceedingly interesting genealo- ■ 
gioaj record of the family to which he belongs 
—a family many of the members of which have 
been distinguished in the civic life of Aberdeen. 
Beginning in 159C, when Thomas Smith, after- 
wards farmer at Laingseat, Belholvie, was 
born, the author . traces the descent of the 
family with the utmost care down to 1865. 
For many generations representatives of the 
family held the farm of Laingseat, but James 
Smith, the father of Lewis Smith, so well 
known as a bookseller in Aberdeen, was a 
tailor and clothier at Newburgh and at Bridge 
of Don. Of the notable and highly creditable 
career of Lewis Smith there is given an inter- 
esting account, from which we extract the fol- 
lowing — 

Lews Smith was apprenticed in his tenth 
year to Mr David Wyllie, bookseller and 
stationer, Aberdeen, and in his eighteenth 
year he set up business on his own account 
at the shop adjoining the gate of Marischal 
College. His shop became the rendezvous of 
most of the eminent men of Aberdeen and the 
north. Dr John Hill Burton Dr Joseph 
Robertson, Dr Kilgour, the Principals and 
Professors of King's and Marischal Colleges 
were among his patrons; and he published 
many local books and pamphlets. 
A list of books and pamphlets published by 
Lewis Smith is given, and it includes '"The 
Aberdeen Censor " (1825) ; " The Deeside 
Guide " (1829* ; " Jamie Fleeman " (1835) ; "The 
Book of Bon-Accord " (1839) ; ' Pratt's Buchan" 
(1858); "The Northern Psalter" (1872); 
"Waifs of Rhyme" (1887). Mr Lewie Smith 
bought the estate of Marybank, Maryoultcr, and 
built tho mansion-house there, now occupied 
by Mr William Macintosh. On 1st November, 
1836, he entered the Town Council, being 
elected for the First Ward, and defeating Mr 
Middleton Rettie,, jeweller. He filled all the 
Council offices except tho Lord Provostship, 
which he declined. His portrait, an oil paint- 
ing, by Sir George Reid, and presented to him 
by his fellow-citizens, hangs in the Council 
Chamber, to which the family of his son, John 
Rae Smith, gifted it. Mr Lewis Smith died 
on 24th October, 1880, the loss of eo venerable 
and public-spirited a citizen being universally 
regretted. 

One of the daughters of Mr Lewis Smith, 
Jean Thomson Smith, married the late Doan 
of Guild Walker, of whoso well directed muni- 
cipal and literary activities a concise, but valu- 
able, account is given. 

The descendants of Lewis Smith number 103 
— of whom 10 are sons and four daughters ; 20 
grandsons and 30 grand-daughters ; 11 great- 
grandsons and 15 great-grand-daughters; and 
eight gTeat-great^grandsons and five great-great- 
grand-daughters. 

The Rev. James Smith, who has compiled 
this admirable record, is a son of James Smith, 
born in 1826— a son of Mr Lewis Smith, his 
mother having been Christian Chalmers, 
daughter of Alexander Wallace Chalmers, 
Governor of Bridewell. As the energetic and 
successfod pastor of a largo congregation, the 
Rev. James Smith has worthily maintained the 
reputation of a distinguished family, and has 
been, like his immediate " forebears/' fortun- 
ate enough to aeonre the highest respect of 
his fellow -citizens. This book would appeal to 
a wider circle than that of the family for whom 
it is primarily designed. ^/^ -i hst.//?,^ 



(p^e Presentation to ttye Choirmaster. 

(pi?e Presentation to tb,e (Jhurcb. ©fficer. 



BOlO 



" The Watchman " 
Mr. WILLIAM ARTHUR. 



Squire 



Address ry Rev. George Walker. B.D. 



.Solos 



f (a) " Sleep and the Roses "' ) 
( (b) "Parted" j 

Mr. WHITEIAW. 



Tail 



Address by Rev. I. T. Cox, B.D., Presbyterj Clerk. 

Uioltn .tub $hano —"Last Movement from Violin 

Concerto" - - -Mendelssohn 

Mr and Mrs. BURNETT of Powis. 

"Qotes of thanks— 
To The Speakers By Rev. James Coutts, MA. 
For The Music --By Rev. James Rae. MA. 
To The Celebrations' Committee — 

By Rev. William Fraseb. 
To The Chairman— By Mr. Gauld. 

(Euening ^jnmn. 



' >f my soul. Thou S.n iour .1 

1 1 is not night if Thou be n.-.ir : 
O may no earth-born ( loud arise 
I hide Thee from Tliy servant 



\\ Inn the soTi dews of kindly sleep 
My wearied eyelids eentl] 

last thouebi 
I on iiis. s iv iour's bi 



near and bless ns when we wake. 
Id "in way we take ; 
I ill in 1 h I 1 I01 e 

We lose ourselves in heaven above. 

Ami n. 



The Benediction. 
&>oo Sabc the Hung. 



i\ 



XVIII.— ST. NINIAN'S PARISH CHURCH. 




St. Ninian's Parish Church. 



The history of the origin of St. Ninian's 
is not only interesting in itself, but also 
because of the light it throws on the work- 
ing of the Church Extension movement 
generally. Here is really an extension of 
an extension charge. One of the five 
churches erected and endowed through the 
efforts of the Aberdeen Church Extension 
Association in its first great and successful 
enterprise was that of Rosemount. In less 
than twenty years there had been built up 
in connection with that church a congrega- 
tion so large in numbers and so strong and 
vigorous that it was in a position to start 
a new movement for the erection of 
another church in an outlying district of 
its parish. St. Ninian's may thus, in a 
certain sense, be regarded as supplying an 
object-lesson in wisely 'directed and 
successful church extension. 



To the minister and kirk-session of Rose- 
mount the credit is due for taking the 
initial steps in the new movement. As 
early as March, 1896, the matter was under 
their formal consideration. At that time 
the membership of Rosemount Church was 
largely in excess of its seating capacity, 
and the population, especially in the 
western corner of the parish, was increas- 
ing at a phenomenal rate — a large new re- 
sidential district having arisen beyond 
Mile-End. The immense possibilities of 
work in the new area appealed to those at 
the head of affairs at Rosemount, but the 
utter inadequacy of the Parish Church to 
cope with the situation was also apparent. 
They resolved, therefore, to face the situa- 
tion, and devise whatever means might be 
considered most advisable for making ade- 
quate provision for the supply of religious 



66 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



ordinances to the parish. Rev. William 
Borland, B.D., who was then minister of 
Rosemount, was one of the first to broach 
the subject, and he was an earnest, enthu- 
siastic, and unselfish worker in the move- 
ment from its inception onwards. Although 
he had left Aberdeen before the enterprise 
had reached its consummation, he had the 
satisfaction of seeing it in an advanced 
fitage, with its ultimate success practically 
assured . 

The initial step was taken by the Rose- 
mount kirk-session in appointing a deputa- 
tion to approach the Executive Committee 
of the Aberdeen Church Extension Asso- 
ciation, and lay the facts of the case before 
it. The association had for several years 
been keeping in view the necessity of erect- 
ing a church in the Mile-End district, and 
the committee received the proposal with 
much favour, and assured the deputation 
of every support in securing the necessary 
financial aid for any scheme that might be 
developed. Following on suggestions made 
by the Church Extension Committee, an 
effort was made to ascertain the feeling 
of members of the Church of Scotland re- 
sident in the district, and, the result being 
satisfactory, a meeting was called of all 
those interested in the matter. This meet- 
ing was hold in the Rosemount Church 
buildings on 15th June, 1896, when there 
was a thoroughly representative attend- 
ance. Rev. William Borland presided, and 
he was supported by Rev. Professor Cowan, 
D.D., a recognised leader in the Church 
Extension movement ; Rev. Robert Thom- 
son, minister of the adjacent parish of 
Rubislaw ; and Mr. Patrick Cooper, advo- 
cate, a member of the Church Extension 
Association. There was a general unani- 
mity of opinion that immediate steps 
should be taken to proceed with the erec- 
tion of a large and commodious church for 
the Mile-End district, and a sub-committee 
was appointed to confer with the Church 
Extension Association and make the pre- 
liminary inquiries and arrangements. In 
August of the same year it was reported 
that a site had been secured, and it was re- 
solved to appoint an Executive Committee, 
with powers to take whatever steps might be 
deemed necessary, to carry out the details 
of the movement then initiated. The 
committee was elected a6 follows, viz.: — 
Mr. Borland as convener, and Messrs. 
Thomas Fotheringham and J. D. Morrison 
as joint secretaries and treasurers ; Messrs. 
Peter Angus, John Baxter, A. F. Black, 
Archibald Coutts, William Cruickshank, 
William Farquharson, John Fyfe, James 
Gauld, R. H. Gibson, Alexander Hender- 



son. Alexander Ledinghain, G. M. Mackay, 

Alexander Milne, Gilbert Mitchell, William 
Mitchell, James Rae, James Scott, John 
Sharp, Leslie Smith, James Wilson, Samuel 
Wilson, and James R. Young. In Novem- 
ber, 1897, the local fund having reached 
the sum of £1000, originally fixed as the 
sum requiring to be raised before proceed- 
ing, the Executive Committee was recon- 
stituted, with power to obtain plans and 
estimates, with a view to the commence- 
ment of building operations. Mr. William 
Kelly was selected as architect, and the 
design which he submitted was at once re- 
ceived with much favour. The foundation- 
stone of the building was laid, with appro- 
priate ceremony, on 13th October, 1898, 
by Lord Balfour of Burleigh, then Secre- 
tary for Scotland, who delivered on the 
occasion a weighty speech, which attracted 
wide attention throughout the country. 
About two years elapsed before the 
building was ready for occupation, and 
when it approached completion it was seen 
that a new and striking addition had been 
made to the ecclesiastical architecture of 
the city. Both externally and internally the 
church has distinctive features. It follows 
the lino of Scottish mediaeval architecture, 
and is one of the finest edifices of the kind 
in the city. The exterior is simple and 
unpretentious in design, yet extremely pic- 
turesque in effect, and from its advan- 
tageous situation the church altogether has 
quite a commanding appearance. The 
aspect of the interior is also extremely 
simple, yet chaste and artistic. No 
elaboration has been attempted, but there 
is a quiet dignity about the whole concep- 
tion. The outstanding feature may be said 
to be the three large circle-headed arches 
of pink Corrennie granite springing from 
massive pillars of the same stone. The 
chancel is raised four steps above the level 
of the nave ; the step.-- arc of Corrennie 
granite, while the Communion table is laid 
on a Konmay granite platform. The pulpit, 
which is situated on the right side of the 
chancel, looking from the nave, is of oak 
in fine panels, and with an artistic octa- 
gonal canopy. The lofty ceiling of the 
nave, and the excellent light from many 
windows of varying design, add to the 
pleasing effect of the whole interior. The 
church, alike for the architectural featurer- 
of its exterior and for the arrangements of 
its interior, with their beauty of detail, 
has been the subject of appreciative notice, 
not only locally, but throughout the 
Church of Scotland at large, and this has 
given St. Ninian's a prominence it might 
not otherwise have attained so earlv in its 



It is an interesting circumstance, the Rev. 
Dr Walker, lata of Castle Douglas, " recalled a* 
the Presbyter j yesterday, that he began his 
work at a preacher in St Nicholas 52 years ago 
- to be precise, in September, 1865. Since then 
his life has been in the far eouitb, and three 
yeans ago he resigned his pariah. 

Tm 

Dr Walker has found roan; thing* in Aber- 
deen that are new, and many that are very 
much to be admired. In the matter of funeral 
reform, for instance, it is thirty ye*rs eince 
the reforms which were «camme»ded to be 
introduced iff Aberdeen -were set agoing in 
Oastle-Dcuiglae at, hie own instance, becaime the 
undertakers would not have their horses stand- 
ing at the doors for twenty minutes while tho 
worthy clergyman orated in prayer for that 
time. Dr Walker, who is still hale and hearty, 
te a brother of the late Councillor John Walker, 
and of the Registrar of the University, Dr 
Robert Walker. 

The riuniBter of St Niniatyg (Mr Msxweil J. 

Wright) told an interesting etorv about Dr 

Walker. "My boyhood rt»x»)lectian of Dr 

Walker,"" he said, "* k a very pleasant one. He 

was assistant to my grandfather, and though 

there were other assistants, I may tell Dr 

Walker that he made the strongest trnpresskm 

j upon me of all the men T met there. It was 

not so much for hie • intellectual gifts as his 

| kindlinesB of heart. I remember him asking 

I me to go a walk with him part of the way tq, 

' my grandfather's maiife, and ho produced wbiU 

was a great treat in those days — a large French 

i pear — and told me to eat it on ray way home. 

I remember that all these years." 

_.' RAHBU5S. 



ST. NINIAN'S PARISH CHURCH 



67 



history. The total cost of the church, in- 
cluding furnishings and extras, has been 
between £6000 and £7000. 

The opening and dedication service took 
place on Wednesday, 5th September, 1900, 
when the preacher was the Very Rev. Dr. 
John Pagan, of Bothwell, ex-Moderator 
of the General Assembly. On the follow- 
ing Sunday there were also (special services 
conducted by Principal Marshall Lang. 
Rev. R, H. Fisher, of the West Parish. 
and Rev. William Borland, of Rose mount. 
For the next few months the pulpit was 
occupied by city ministers, and others from 
a distance, but in the meantime a com- 
mittee, with Mr. Alexander Ledingham, 
solicitor, as convener, had been appointed 
to make inquiries and take the necessary 
steps towards the selection of a minister 
for the charge. The outcome was the elec- 
tion of Rev. Maxwell J. Wright, M.A., of 
Dornock, near Annan, whose "introduc- 
tion " by the Presbytery took place on 5th 
June, 1901, and who was introduced to the 
congregation on the following Sunday by 
Dr. Paton, of Dumfries. 

Mr. Wright conies of a ministerial 
family. Two of his uncles, Rev. Dr. Hut- 
chison, of Banchory-Tornan, and Rev. Max- 
well Wright, of Echt, were well known in 
the north, and his " forbears " for several 
generations were connected with the manse. 
Mr. Wright graduated at St. Andrews 
University, and took his divinity course 
under Principal Tulloch, Professor 
Mitchell, and Professor Crombie. A pro- 
minent figure among University athletes of 
Ins day, he was not without distinction in 
his classes, taking the first prize in Church 
History, and also in Biblical Criticism at 
the close of the second session. His pro- 
fessors spoke of him in appreciative terms. 
and Dr. A. K. H. Boyd and Dr. Mark L! 
Anderson, the ministers of St. Andrews, 
also testified to his abilities and personal 
character. After receiving licence, Mr. 
Wright became assistant to Dr. Davidson, 
of Largo, and remained in this position for 
about a year, until his appointment as 
assistant to Dr. Burns in Glasgow 
Cathedral. In that important charge he 
held an assistantship for four years, and 
gained a high reputation both for his pulpit 
gifts and his pastoral efficiency, a sjnecial 
feature of his work being in connection 
with the Sunday School and Bible Class. 
He was ordained in 1885 by the Presbytery 
of Annan to the parish of Dornock, near 
Annan, and remained in that country 
charge for fifteen years, until he was in- 
vited to Aberdeen to take the oversight of 
the new church of St. Ninian's, Before 



leaving Dornock, Mr. Wright was the re- 
cipient <>i many tokens of appreciation from 
those among whom he had spent these 
years of his ministerial life. The presenta- 
tions made to him were from his 
parishioners and his co-Presbyters, and 
from public bodies, such as the Dumfries 
Synod Choir and the Annan Lodge of 
Oddfellows. 

After Mr. Wright's settlement at St. 
Ninian's, the membership steadily in- 
creased, and the Executive Committee re- 
solved to take steps as soon as possible to 
secure the endowment of the church. The 
requisite sum having been guaranteed by 
members of the congregation, the Endow- 
ment Committee of the Church of Scot- 
land gave the usual assistance, and after 




Rev. Maxwell J. Wright, M.A. 

the necessary formalities had been gone 
through intimation was made that, by a 
decree of the Court of Teinds, dated 10th 
July, 1903, St. Ninian's had been erected 
into a " quoad sacra " parish. This opened 
the way for Mr. Wright's formal induction 
to the parish by the Presbytery, and the 
ceremony took place on 2nd September, 
1903, the Right Rev. Dr. Gillespie, of Mous- 
wald, Moderator of the General Assembly, 
being associated with the Presbytery on 
the occasion. Following on the erection of 
St. Ninian's to a parish, there was the 
duty of electing a kirk-session. Those who 
wore chosen as the first elders of the 



68 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



church, and who consented to act, were 
Messrs. William Bean, Hugh F. Campbell, 
James S. Davidson, Thomas Fotheringham, 
Robert H. Gibson, Alexander Ledingham, 
David Mann, Charles Merry lee6, Charles 
M'Leod, Alexander Spark, A. Forbes 
Wight, and James Wilson. 

On the election of a kirk-session the 
Executive Committee appointed at the 
beginning of the scheme, and subsequently 
largely added to, was discharged, ac- 
knowledgment being made of the ser- 
vices rendered by the convener, Mr. Alex- 
ander Ledingham. Mr. Thomas Fother- 
ingham, who had acted throughout as lion, 
secretary, and had given invaluable aid in 
every department of the church's work, 
and Mr. W. D. Adam, hon. treasurer, to- 
gether with the conveners of the sub-com- 
mittees, also received cordial acknowledg- 
ment of their labours. 

The trustees of the church under the 
Deed of Constitution were — Colonel Allar- 
dyce, Mr. D. M. M. Milligan, and Mr. 
D. M. A. Chalmers. By vote of the con- 
gregation the following were elected 
managers, viz.: — Messrs. W. D. Adam. 
George M'Bain, John Wilson, P. W. L. 
Clark, James Gauld, and James C. Glegg: 
and associated with them were three mem- 
bers of the kirk-session — Messrs. Charles 
Merrylees, Alexander Ledingham, and 
Thomas Fotheringham. 

Still another enterprise was undertaken 
by the congregation. Encouraged by the 
offer of Mr. Carnegie to provide one-half 
of the price, it was resolved to proceed 
with the erection of a pipe organ worthy 
of the church at a cost of £800, the scheme 
being promoted by a Musical Committee 
under Mr. James C. Glegg as convener. 
The amount falling to be raised by the 
congregation having been subscribed, the 



organ was duly installed. The church is 
now fully equipped and furnished in every- 
way with the exception of a church hall. 
Provision was made for such a building in 
the original plan, and its erection will be 
proceeded with whenever the circumstances 
of the congregation seem to warrant such 
an undertaking. In the meantime, the 
work of the church is not being allowed 
to suffer. The old Rubislaw School, which 
is within easy distance of the church, was 
rented from the School Board as temporary 
halls, and there the Sunday School and 
other agencies were held until the buildings 
were again required for School Board pur- 
poses. The work w r as then transferred to 
the church premises. 

St. Ninian's is in every respect in a pro- 
sperous condition at present, and its 
prospects for the future are highly en- 
couraging. Its situation is largely in its 
favour. If it is not exactly set on a hill, its 
position i6 such that it cannot possibly be 
hid. It likewise commands a wide resi- 
dential district which is rapidly extending 
on every side, and which, in the near 
future, is likely to have a very large in- 
crease of population. The congregation is 
also fortunate in having at the head of its 
affairs men of public spirit and of high 
standing in the community, who are ever 
ready to take an active and practical in- 
terest in the development and progress of 
the church. The membership is still on 
the upward grade, while the organisation 
of the church in religious and philanthropic 
effort is being increased as opportunity 
offers. The measure of success which has 
already attended St. Ninian's. and the en- 
terprise which has been so characteristic of 
its life and work hitherto, may be taken as 
the best augury of its future. 



XIX- SOUTH PARISH CHURCH. 




South Parish Church. 

There were exceptional circumstances 
connected with the formation and early his- 
tory of the congregation which is known 
to-day as that of the South Parish. Tt was 
connected originally with the Relief deno- 
mination, which in 1847 joined with the 



Secession in forming the United Presby- 
terian Church. The date of the origin of 
the congregation ie the date of the found- 
ing of the Relief body in Aberdeen, but 
there is some difficulty in fixing on the 
exact year. The movement is generally 
supposed to have taken shape in 1773, when 
the first minister was settled in Gilcomston 
Chapel of Ease ; but Dr. Small, the his- 
torian of the United Presbyterian Church, 
reckons this too early, and that for two 
reasons. First, it was not till 29th April, 
1778, that the managers of the Relief 
Church resolved to proceed with the erec- 
tion of a place of worship, and on 17th 
August of the same year, when application 
was made to the Relief Presbytery of Glas- 
gow for sermon, they were described as "a 
forming congregation." Second, the first 
ordination at Gilcomston seems to have 
been harmoniously gone through, but the 
second minister, though chosen in June, 
1776, was not admitted till November, 
1778. This ma}' be taken as the period 
during which the Relief cause sprang up 
in the city. 

The church (with accommodation for 1000 
people) was built " by voluntary subscrip- 
tion," and hence, when a minister came to 
be chosen, the right to vote was limited to 
the subscribers. This immediately gave 
rise to dissension. The subscribers united 
in electing Rev. John Bryce, but the non- 
subscribers resented their exclusion, and, 
it is understood, they favoured another 
candidate. The outcome was the erection 
of a rival Relief chapel in the Ship row, 
which had an interesting, if somewhat 
chequered history, and which, before it be- 
came defunct, gave off the nucleus of the 
congregation, which for years was the sole 
representative of the Relief in Aberdeen, 
and is now known as St. Paul's U.F. 
Church. 

Mr. Bryce having been formally elected 
first minister of the Belmont Relief Chapel, 
he was afterwards duly ordained. The 
date of his ordination is not accurately 
known, but the minutes of the congrega- 
tion show that the call was issued on 13th 
October. 1779. For some time all went 
well with Mr. Bryce and his people. There 
is no record of any developments of note 
until 1790, when long-cherished antipathies 
between the two Relief congregations in 
the city burst forth. The minister of the 



70 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Shiprow cliapel having applied for admis- 
sion to the Relief Synod, Mr. Bryce and 
his session petitioned against him, and 
lodged papers reflecting on his personal 
character. These the Synod, after a year 
of inquiry, rejected, and resolved to re- 
ceive the Shiprow minister and his con- 
gregation. That was in 1790, and in 1791 
Mr. Bryce and his congregation applied for 
admission to the Established Church. The 
application was granted by the Presbytery 
of Aberdeen on 11th August, 1791, and 
Belmont Relief Chapel became Belmont 
Chapel of Ease. 

Mr. Bryce came from the parish oi 
Carsphairn, and it is believed that he had 
originally belonged to the Established 
Church, a fact which may account for his 
readiness to seek admission to it when his 
troubles in Aberdeen began. In any case, 
he was duly .settled as an Established 
Church minister in the city, but it was 
some time before he attained the full status 
in the denomination. For over 30 years 
he continued his work, preaching to good 
congregations, but without having a session 
of his own or a seat in the Church courts. 
At last, on 5th March, 1828, by the divi- 
sion of the parish of St. Nicholas the Bel- 
mont Chapel of Ease became the South 
Parish Church, and Mr. Bryce was re- 
cognised as parish minister, with all the 
rights and privileges attaching to the posi- 
tion. His active career, however, was soon 
thereafter to come to an end, and he died 
on 10th March, 1831, in the 77th year of 
his age and the 52nd of his ministry. His 
memory is perpetuated by a marble tablet 
in the vestibule of the South Church, testi- 
mony being borne to his "unostentatious 
piety and unquenchable zeal." A son of 
Mr. Bryce afterwards became well-known 
as Dr. James Bryce, a prominent figure on 
the Moderate side in pre-Disruption days 
in the Assembly, and the author of a his- 
tory of the Church of Scotland. 

The second minister of the South Parish 
was Rev. William Leith. He was elected 
assistant to Mr. Bryce on 3rd August, 1825. 
and on 4th February, 1829, he was formally 
called to be his assistant and successor. His 
tenure of the charge was a short one. his 
death taking place on the day of com- 
munion, 8th April, 1832. Although cut off 
at the early age of 31, and after only seven 
years in the ministry, he appears to have 
made a deep impression in the parish. It 
is recorded of him that in a few years he 
lived a lifetime of usefulness; that he was 
a man distinguished for his knowledge, 
piety, and zeal, whose great talents were 



ungrudgingly devoted to the earnest dis- 
charge of his sacred duties. A memorial 
tablet to Mr. Leith is to be found alongside 
that to Mr. Bryce. 

The next minister of the South Parish 
was Rev. Alexander Dyce Davidson, M.A. 
(and afterwards D.D.), who in different 
spheres was so prominent a personality in 
the religious life of Aberdeen for many 
years. He was ordained minister of the 
South Church on 1st August, 1832, and 
having made his mark as a preacher, he 
was translated in 1836 to the historic West 
Parish. His subsequent career in that 
charge and later on in joining the Free 
Church party at the Disruption and found- 
ing the Free West Church concerns these 
congregations rather than the South. Yet 
it was in the South Palish that he first 
gave evidence of his exceptional powers. 
The fourth minister was another who in 
after life rose to eminence, and likewise 
cast in his lot with the Free Church. Rev. 
William King Tweedie was settled as 
minister of the South Parish on 1st Septem- 
ber, 1836, after having been four years at 
London Wall. He gave other four years' 
work to the Established Church in Aber- 
deen, and was loosed from the pastoral 
charge of the South Parish on hi6 transla- 
tion to Tolbooth Parish, Edinburgh, in 
February, 1842. Dr. Tweedie (he received 
his D.D. from St. Andrews University) be- 
came one of the outstanding men in the 
Free Church, and gained a wide reputation 
as an author. His predominating charac- 
teristics as a preacher lay in doctrinal 
illustrations, and to his pulpit work he 
brought a mind naturally robust, and an 
experience both varied and extensive. 

On Mr. Tweedie's departure the South 
Parish then had experience of the 
shortest and the longest pastorates in its 
history. 

On 28th October, 1842. Rev. James 
Stewart was settled as minister of the 
parish, but the pastoral tie was dissolved 
in a few short months. At the Disruption, 
in the early part of 1843. Mr. Stewart left 
the Establishment and tarried practically 
his entire congregation with him. The dis- 
sentients—a large and influential body- 
founded the Five South Church, and erected 
a place of worship at the other end of 
Belmont Street, removing more recently 
to the present imposing edifice on a com- 
manding site in Schoolhill Viaduct. 

The first minister of the South Parish 
after the Disruption was Rev. Thomas 
Dewar. Mr. Dewar's pastorate is the 
longest in the history of the parish. He 



The death took place at Torphins this morn- 
ing, after a brief illne-o. of the Rev. William D. 
Scott, for 23 years minister of tho South Parish 
Church, Aberdeen. A week or two ago he went 
to Deeside for a change. 

Mr Scott -was the son of Dr Scott, Dunoon, 
an-1 a graduate of Glasgow Uniransity. In 1073, 
while acting at. an assistant in a Glasgow charge, 
he was elected ainl ordained to tho Sooth 
Church, Aberdeen, in t accession to the Rev. 
George Rose, and as assistant and successor to 
tha Rev. J. K. Duncan. As a preacher, Mr 
j Scott had the reputation of having a finished 
I style and a cultured delivery- He wae 
gelical in his sympathies, and although mainly 
' devoting himself to the duties of the parish and 
j especially to the claims of his pulpit, he iden- 
tified himself with evangelistic movetno 
' tho city. In a quiet way, without much stir or 
publicity, he did much useful work both in thu 
congregation <>nd in the district or parish mis- 
sion. He retired in May, 1907, and was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. Guy S. Peebles, who, on 
going to Wick, was followed laot : 
Rev. W. Lindsay Gordon, the present ministe-. 
Mr Scott, who was about 60 year* of age. 
married Miss Barclay, daughter of the bte Mr 
Alexander Barclav. Aberdeen, and a niece of 
the latt! Mr J. W. Barclay, M.P.. and is sur- 
vived by a widow and young family. 






THE I 



FUNERAL of the late Rev. WM. 
-*- D. SOOTT, B.D., late o: h. Aberdeen 

.1 BOX-ACCORD CRF.v 
on MONDAY, liU J inn., to ALLEXVJiL. 

'i0 only intimation aiu^ A kj» 



SOUTH PARISH CHURCH 



71 



served in the parish for about 30 years, 
labouring in season and out of season in 
every good cause. His strong point was 
parochial work. He established schools for 
the young, instituted societies for those 
more advanced in years, and sought in 
every way the betterment of his 
parishioners in all that concerned their 
moral, intellectual, and spiritual interests. 
Mr. Dewar's death occurred with tragic 
suddenness in 1872. He was engaged in 
opening the Circuit Court, according to the 
usual custom, with prayer, and while in 
the act he fell down and expired almost 
immediately. The sad event caused some- 
thing of a sensation at the time, and the 
funeral of Mr. Dewar, partly, no doubt, 
on account of the special circumstances of 
his death, but also largely as a tribute to 
his long and unwearied service as a faith- 
ful minister, was one of the largest and 
most striking witnessed in Aberdeen in that 
generation. Mr. Dewar has a son in the 
ministry of the Church of Scotland to-day 
— Rev. Thomas Dewar, of Lochgelly. In 
1873 Rev. J. K. Duncan was settled as 
minister of the South, and with his advent 
a new era dawned in the parish. He had 
peculiarities in his personality, but he was 
a man of undoubted power. His forte lay 
in the pulpit. His sermons, elaborately 
prepared and as elaborately delivered, 
made au immediate impression. It was 
contended by some that Mr. Duncan's pul- 
pit style was too studied and artificial, and 
that the dramatic element was too strongly 
in evidence. However that may have been, 
there could be no question as to the attrac- 
tion he exercised over the popular mind. 
The huge building, which had always been 
too large for the congregation, was soon 
filled to overflowing, and the membership 
went up by leaps and bounds, increasing in 
a very short time from between 500 and 
600 to about 1400. The Greyfriars con- 
gregation had for a season been worship- 
ping with the South, and not a f e^\ , 
fascinated by Mr. Duncan's preaching, 
left their own church altogether, and 
became members under him. This 

sudden burst of success was doomed, how- 
ever, to come to a sudden end. Mr. Dun- 
can was, comparatively speaking, a young 
man, but he had served the church only 
for about two years when he suffered a 
complete breakdown. The dazzling popu- 
larity, with its accompanying nervous 
strain, had wrought havoc with faculties 
which had been none too strong, and the 
reaction was intense. Mr. Duncan was 
compelled thus early to retire from active 



work and seek for the appointment of an 
assistant and successor. The choice of the 
congregation fell on Rev. George Ross, who 
carried on the work under rather dis- 
couraging conditions. The meteoric suc- 
cess attained under Mr. Duncan rendered 
the task of his successor a very difficult 
one. The great congregation, so quickly 
gathered, had never had time to solidify, 
and thus, when the personality which had 
drawn them together was withdrawn, it 
was but natural that there should be a 
considerable and steady falling off. Mr. 
Ross, after two years in the pastorate, ac- 
cepted a call to Hoddam, Dumfries-shire, 
and the South Parish was again vacant. 




Rev. William D. Scott, B.D. 

In 1878, Rev. William D. Scott, 
15. P., was formally elected and or- 
dained to the charge in succession to 
Mr. Ross, and as assistant and successor 
to Mr. Duncan. The congregation soon 
settled down to the ordinary routine, and 
the membership in a few years time re- 
turned to the numbers reported before the 
beginning of Mr. Duncan's ministry. Mr. 
Scott has borne the reputation of being a 
preacher with a finished style and a cul- 
tured delivery. He is evangelical in his 
sympathies, and has been more prominently 
identified than most of his brethren in the 
Established Church with evangelistic move- 



72 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



ments in the city. In public work of 
various kinds he has also taken a share, 
although he has mainly devoted himself to 
the duties of his parish, and especially to 
the claims of his pulpit. Mr. Scott retired 
in May, 1907, and the vacancy was filled by 
the election of Rev. Guy S. Peebles, B.D., 
of Kinloss. Mr. Peebles was inducted to 
the charge on 23rd October, 1907, and he 
has been carrying on the work — both pul- 
pit and pastoral — with ability and energy. 




Rev. Guy S. Peebles, B.D. 

Turning from the ministers to the mem- 
bers of the South Parish, there are many 
names worthy of mention, although only 
a few must suffice. Mr. Lewis Smith, book- 
seller, and one of the baillies of Bon-Accord 
in his day, was a prominent member, and 
Dr. John Webster of Edgehill, afterwards 
M.P. for the city, was connected with the 
church, although he went out at the Dis- 
ruption. Of other well-known members 
now deceased the names occur of Mr. 
Thomas Melville of Westfield ; Mr. John 
Roger, of Messrs. Pratt and Keith ; Dr. 
Wight. Mr. James Paull, advocate ; and 
Mrs. (Principal) Pirie. In the present day 
there is still an excellent staff of office- 
bearers and workers. Mr. George Connon 
(of Messrs. G. Angus and Company) has 
been Sunday School superintendent f<n- 30 
years and a teacher for over 40; and Air. 
John Watt, grocer, has for a considerable 



time been superintendent of the Parish 
Mission. 

It is worthy of mention that Mr. Scott 
had a succession of excellent assistants, 
many of whom are now in desirable parishes 
in various parts of the country. The list, 
included Rev. George Dingwall, Liff : Rev. 
Alexander Mackenzie, Coull ; Rev. James 
Christie, Auchmithie ; Rev. James Milne, 
Caledonian Church, London ; Rev. William 
Stephen, Inverkeithing ; Rev. Wm. Suther- 
land, Forglen ; Rev. Joseph M'Pherson, 
Birsay ; Rev. J. C. M'Hardy, Rhynie ; Rev. 
W. L. Jamie, Addiwell ; Rev. J. YY. Fraser, 
Kirkmichael ; Rev. J. M. Webster, Dun- 
fermline ; and Rev. J. L. Thomson, Peter- 
culter. 

The work of the South Parish to-day has, 
perhaps, no specially outstanding feature. 
Yet in a quiet way, without much stir or 
publicity, a considerable amount of useful 
work is being carried on both in the con- 
gregation and in the district of the Parish 
Mission, which for several year.s had its 
headquarters in Carmelite Street. There 
arc Bible classes conducted by experienced 
and capable teachers, and the Sunday 
School is remarkable for the fact that male 
teachers are in a majority. 

The membership of the South Parish 
Church to-day is close upon 1000, and it is 
a thoroughly representative one. The rise 
of extension charges in the suburbs hat, 
however, to 6ome extent affected not only 
the size, but also the personnel of the con- 
gregation. It is found to be very difficult 
to retain families living on the outskirts 
of the city, and especially the younger mem- 
bers, who do not feel the binding influence 
of long association with the parish which 
helped to preserve the loyalty of their 
fathers. In this way the congregation, 
through causes and conditions largely un- 
avoidable, may have lost to some extent 
in social status. Yet there is still a mix- 
ture of the classes and the masses. Work- 
ing people and artisans of various grades 
are fully represented, and are, perhaps, in 
a considerable majority. Business men. 
however, form another large proportion, 
and the professions are also represented. 
What, after all, is of more importance- is 
that the congregation, apart from all social 
distinctions, is evidently permeated by a 
living interest in the work of the Church 
in all its branches both at home and abroad. 
A new Church Hall in close proximity to 
the church itself was opened in Xoveml>er. 
1P0S ; and. under the vigorous ministry of 
Mr. Peebles, the outlook generally is full 
of hope. 



XX.-TRINITY PARISH CHURCH. 




Trinity Parish Church. 

The congregation of Trinity Parish 
Church as now constituted is of compara- 
tively recent formation. It owes its 
existence to the Church extension move 
ment which has done so much within the 
last decade to give the Established Church 
its present hold in the city of Aberdeen. 
This, however, is not the first Trinity 
Church in our local ecclesiastical annals. 

ruder the heading of Trinity U.F. 
Church there will be found a detailed his- 
tory of those early years, the narrative 
coming more appropriately in connection 
with the records of that congregation, 
seeing it can lay claim to the continuous 
history. A brief reference here will suffice. 

It was in the end of 1793 that a number 
of dissentient members from the East 
Parish petitioned the Presbytery for per- 
mission to build a Chapel of Ease. Presby- 
terial sanction having been obtained, a 
commodious chapel was erected at the lower 
end of the Shiprow, near the site of the 
old Trinity Convent. Opened for public 



worship on Sunday, 27th April, 1794., the 
first Trinity Chapel soon became an im- 
portant centre of religious life and activity. 
It was fortunate in having a succession of 
able and devoted ministers — Rev. Robert 
Doig, Rev. Alexander Kirklaiid, Rev. Dr. 
John Murray, and Rev. David Simpson. 
On 31st May, 1834, during Mr. Simpson's 
ministry. Trinity was created a ' ' quoad 
sacra " parish, but in 1843 the Dis- 
ruption occurred, and the congregation 
was at once practically shattered. Mr. 
Simpson had a great hold over his 
large membership, and when he an- 
nounced that he was to cast in his lot 
with the Free Church almost the entire 
body decided to adhere to him. Bidding 
farewell to the old chapel, Mr. Simpson and 
his followers went out and founded the 
congregation which is known to-day as that 
of Trinity United Free Church. The same 
experience was to some extent shared by 
every Parish Church in the city. All the 
ministers of the Established Church " went 
out," and, naturally, each of them carried 
a considerable number of his congregation 
along with him. In no instance, however, 
was there a more sweej^ing exodus 
than from Trinity, and while the 
other congregations soon recovered to 
a large extent from the upheaval. 
Trinity was found to be beyond all 
prospect of regaining its position. The 
services were continued, but the church 
was practically deserted, and in a few 
weeks' time it was seen that the attempt 
to resuscitate the charge was utterly hope- 
less. The chapel stood for a time empty 
and unused, and its windows became a 
target for the missiles of young Aberdeen, 
until scarcely a single pane of glass was 
left in the building. Ultimately the pro- 
perty was sold by the Presbytery, and it 
passed into other hands to be used for 
other purposes. It was known as the 
Alhambra Music Hall for many years, and 
as a hall it is still standing on its original 
site behind the houses opposite the Post 
Office in Market Street— a site that, when 
the church was built, was adjacent to a 
part of Shiprow now obliterated. Thus 
the first Trinity Parish Church passed out 
of the Presbyterial records. 

It was after more than 30 years had 
elapsed that practical steps were taken 
towards reconstituting the parish. The 



71 



THE CHUUCHES UF ABERDEEN 




Rev. Robert Slessor. 

wave of enthusiasm for Church extension 
was passing over the city, and new churches 
in various growing districts were planned 
and planted — Ferryhill, Rubislaw, Manno- 
field, Rosemount, and others. Along with 
the desire to provide for the increasing 
needs of new localities, it was felt that 
something ought to be done for the ever- 
pressing wants of the dense population in 
the centre of the city, and the idea of 
raising a congregation to take the place 
of the old Trinity congregation commended 
itself to many of the foremost workers in 
the movement. The project, once mooted, 
found hearty support, and the promoters 
were soon in a position to proceed in the 
matter. A site for a new church in the 
district which it was specially designed to 
serve would not then have been easy to 
secure. The old theatre in Marischal 
Street, however, was purchased, and re- 
modelled for use as a church, and there the 
congregation have been housed until the 
present day. Surely it is a curious coin- 
cidence that the old Trinity Church be- 
came a music hall, and that the present 
Trinity Church was once a theatre. 

The first minister of the parish was Rev. 
James Park, whose ordination took place 
on Thursday, 5th July, 1877. The prin- 
cipal part of the ordination service was 
conducted by Rev. Henry Cowan, of Rubis- 



law (now Professor Cowan), who had taken 
the lead in the whole extension movement, 
and who, in the address he delivered on 
the occasion, referred to the gratification 
generally felt in the Established Church at 
the revival of Trinity Parish. Mr. Park 
was formally introduced on the following 
Sunday by Rev. Robert Duncan, of Mon- 
trose, and he entered on his ministry with 
good prospects. His stay, however, was of 
short duration, for within three years he 
accepted a call to St. John's Parish. Leith. 
where he still labours. 

In 1880 Rev. Robert Slessor wa6 called 
to the pastorate in succession to Mr. Park. 
Mr. Slessor is a local man, having been 
born at Rathen, brought up at Strichen, 
and educated at A berdeen. On the com- 
pletion of his college course Mr. Slessor was 
engaged in work as a parochial schoolmaster 
for a considerable period. He was at Tar- 
land for seven years and at Methlick for 
13 years, and before his ordination as 
minister of Trinity he had, therefore, 20 
years' experience in the teaching profession 
already behind him. When Mr Slessor came 
the membership was about 315 : while to-day 
it is over 700. The church fabric has 
undergone several alterations and improve- 
ments. In 1897 an organ was introduced, 
and the interior of the building was re- 
painted and decorated with such fine 
artistic taste that Professor Paterson, 




Rev. W. Bruce Muir. 



^ ^L,y /? y^A^ ^-a^^ ^^^y ^^ 




^t"7 ^ ^^* ^»^>-<7 






Sty j-a/j /;#/<> — kc 3)/ 3, 




*-*/■) /Vf/0 — 9*c filS 6^6-r^ ^^yey J-z/j/Zf/J 



TRLNITY PARISH CHURCH 



75 



when conducting the re-opening ser- 
vices, declared there was no prettier 
church in Aberdeen. In November, 
1906, Mr. Slessor, on account of 
physical incapacity to cope with the 
work of the parish, formally retired from 
the charge. His connection with the con- 
gregation, however, was not then at an 
end. As he was still resident in the city 
he continued to discharge all necessary 
ministerial duty until the appointment of 
his successor. Rev. W. Bruce Muir of the 
Robertson Memorial Church, Edinburgh, 
was elected to the vacancy, and his induc- 
tion took place on 19th April, 1907. He 
continued in the pastorate until 25th 
October, 1909, when his resignation was 
accepted by the Presbytery. 

It cannot be said that the Trinity Parish 
of to-day approaches cither in numbers or 
influence the Trinity Parish which passed 
away. Allowance must necessarily be 
made for the drift of the city to the west, 



and the difficulty of securing members in 
the immediate locality. The present mem- 
bership is composed to a considerable ex- 
tent of people who have come in from 
country districts, and are now settled in 
various parts of the city. All the Estab- 
lished Churches benefit by the influx of 
population from fhe country parishes, and 
Trinity has always had a large share of 
this influx, and in this way has been able 
to maintain the size of its communion roll 
notwithstanding the adverse influences it 
has hail to encounter. 

There is no specially outstanding feature 
of the life and work of the church anil 
parish calling for remark. The workers 
pursue their course quietly without any 
attempt to imitate modern methods or 
create a stir in the community. They 
prefer to keep to the old paths, and they 
are content when they succeed in holding 
their own without achieving any startling 
developments. 



XXI. -WEST PARISH CHURCH 







East and West Parish Churches 



The Mother Church of Aberdeen lias a 
long history of unique interest and of great 
importance. In one form or another it has 
survived the passing of the centuries, the 
rise and fall of dynasties, and even the 
shocks of ecclesiastical and religious up- 
heaval. The Church of St. Nicholas, under 
which name it was known until the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century, was 
founded, according to traditional belief, 
about 1060. In that year it " began to be 
builded," and it was gradually extended 
and improved until about the close of the 
fifteenth century, when it was acknow- 
ledged to be one of the finest parish 
churches in Scotland. The ancient nave 
occupied the site on which the present 
West Church stands to-day ; the cross 
aisles, or north and south transepts, are 
now known as Collison's Aisle and Drum's 
Aisle; and the choir occupied the site oi 
the present East Church. Around the 



stately building many historic memories 
clustered, and it is said there can be little 
doubt that within its walls not a few of 
our Scottish monarchs, including King 
Robert Bruce and his Queen, Isabella, had 
bowed their heads in worship. James VI. 
i-. understood to have been a frequent 
attender when he honoured the town with 
a visit, and the magistrates constructed a 
gallery for the special accommodation of 
Royal visitors. John Knox visited Aber- 
deen in 1j64, remaining in the city for six 
or seven weeks, and it is surely no idle 
fane; on the part of a local historian to 
say that 'doubtless the walls of old St. 
Nicholas rang with the manly tone6 of the 
Reformer's sturdy eloquence." 

About the beginning of the eighteenth 
century the building began to show signs 
of decay, and in 173'2 it was abandoned as 
being unsafe for use as a place of worship. 
After lying practically in ruins for nearly 



MITFOftD MITCHELL.— On the 2fith Sept., m Edin- 
burgh (suddenly;, after an operation the Very Rev. 
J k MitfoDd MitcheU, D.D., Chapkin-in-Ordniwy 
to lUs Majesty the King in Scotland, ex-Moderator 
of the General Assembly bi tho Church ol Scotland, 
of ;i<3 Palnwrelun Place, Edinbuigb., aged 71 years. 
No rlov.tr.-, by request. Funeral arrangements will 
be notified In to-morrow's paper. 



'//*r 






Death of Or Mitford 
Mitchell. 

PROMINENT CHURCHMAN. 

Former Minister of West Church, 
Aberdeen. 

The announcement ol. the death of the 
Very Rev. Df J. R- Mitiord Mitchefla « lnch 
took pmcc m Edinburgh on ***£; 
day, suddenly, after an operation, mil. 
be received with profound regret by t » 
citizens of Aberdeen,, and especially by:, 
members of the West Parish Church ol , 
which Dr Mitchell was tor many years the 
devoted minister. in 18»5 there was 
severed the pastoral tie Formed in l»<r>, 
when Dr Mitchell, following Dr Irvine 
Robertson, was inducted as assistant ana 
successor to Dr Forsyth, who dieu in the 
following year. The ministry of 1< J«MJj 
in Aberdeen was signalised by earnest ana 
practical preaching and steady and con- 
scientious pastoral work, and there was 
marked progress in the affairs of the 
Church, the systematic and effects 
parochial organisation being assist.-'! by the 
erection, through Dr Mitchell's efforts, of 
the parish buildings in Back Wynd. 



&£L 



*ftf'f»r 



West Church 
Memorial. 



| IT » maniffstly appropriate that tibo West 
j Parish Church, Aberdeen, should posse* a 
memorial of so zealous a 
minsster as the Very Rev. J- 
R. Mitford Mitchell, D.P., 
and the tablet uaveiled and 
dedicated yesterday will be highly appreciated. 
Under the pastorate of Dr Mifcford Mitohell Cor 
seventeen years the membership of the congre- 
gation doubled, and tire progress was mainly 
attributable to tihe devotion of the mini<rtor. Dr 
Matford Mitchell enjoyed in a marked degree 
the respect of the -whole community, irrespective 
of dea»rnin&ticnial distinctions, and he deserved 
Btsnh esteem. After leaving Aberdeen Dr 
M.itwbeH continued to serve the Church of Scot- 
land with unwavering fidelity, and his election 
es Moderator was a graceful recognition of long 
and disinterested service In tbe public bfejoX 
Aberdeen Dr Mitchell did not piay an obtrusive 
part, but bis iniuuence wae wisely directed and 
his fcbeaaiity unfaihrrg. 



St Nicholas Bells. 

In view of the fact that a controversy fre- 
quently arises regarding the St Nicholas bells, 
it may be interesting to quote here part of a 
letter which appeared in the " Aberdeen 
Journal" of 10th March, 1858: — 

" It is now my pleasing doty to announce 
that the D flat bell is cast and may be ex- 
pected, along with the other new bells, in 
Aberdeen in the course of a few days. A 
generous-hearted townsman, on being applied 
to for a subscription to the 'town's bells,' at 
once offered to bear tbe cost of an entire bell. 
In letters raised in relief on the bell so gifted, 
the name of ' John Smith, Banker. Leeds,' will 
be justly handed down to posterity, that the 
act may bo had in grateful remembrance. 
Another townsman, rich in useful knowledge, 
drew from his stores the pregnant idea that, by 
adding one bell more, a D flat, to the chime of 
eight bells already projected, the powers of 
the nine bells for chime changing, as well as 
for tune ringing, over those of the eight, would 
bo as four to one. The D flat bell has been 
cheerfully subscribed for ; and that the culture 
of native talent may be encouraged, and 
modest merit rewarded, the Messrs Warner 
have been instructed to cast in. relief upon its 
?b redder ' Watson's D flat,' that posterity may 
know how much they owe to James Watson, 
watchmaker, as the sole proposer of so useful 
and so important an addition to the chime." 

This letter is signed " Wm. Keith, 257 Union 
Street." Ho was an M.D., surgeon to the 
Royal Infirmary, and lecturer on clinical sur- 
gery. He was likewise a member of the com- 
mittee for promoting the acquisition of new 
bells. The movement was initiated about 
twelve months previous to the date of the 
letter, when Mr Boswell, of Messrs Warner, 
London, bad submitted a report to the Town 
Qxancdl on the bells. The subject was first 
raised by twenty private gentlemen. 

A Reader. 



Memorial Tablet Unvailed in West 



Church. 



j&& , 



In presence of a huge cangTegaArbn, i«£iMirRr» 
civ ic reprtetsntetaves, in the West Church, Aber- 
deen, yestordav forenoon, a tablet in mernory- 
of tbo late Very Rev. J. R. Mitford MrtoheB, 
D.D., a 'crmar minister of toe parish, was un- 
veiaed Iry luis daughter, Mr* Stafford, and wa* 
dedicated bv the Rev, G. IL Donald, the pre- 
sent rrrmJetar. 



The dea.th of Mr G. A. Simpson, advocate, 
will be widely mourned. Mr Simpson wan en- 
gaged in many forms of activity, and in tbe 
ejffa.iTs of the Obuirch of Scotland he was 
specially prominent. He acted as session clerk 
of quite a number of the city parishes, in- 
cluding the WpBt. Gtrevfriars. North, and St 
Geonge'e-in-bhe West. Personally be was con- 
nected with tho West Parish, in all the concerns 
of which ho took a warm and practical interest 
during its (aiecessive minis+ries. Mr Simpson 
v;as every in<ii a cen.il email. His courtesy TOafl 
urfailing. and he hn<! a. quiet oharm of maimer 
nil his own. Ti mitdrt have been hoped that he 
had years of usefulness still before him, a.nd hi» 
paesurg away is a distinct loss to many interets 
in the community. £/£, ■*"" * Jc t:' % 



II EST PARISH CHUIIGH 



77 



twenty years, during which time worship 
was held in the Greyfrians Church, the 

magistrates accepted contracts in 1751 tor 
taking down the old nave and erecting a 
new church on the site. The plane were 
gratuitously furnished by Mr. .James Gibbs, 
an Aberdonian who had risen to eminence 
as an architect in London, and the work of 
erection occupied fully four years. The 
new building which was then erected, and 
which still exists, was opened for public 
worship on 9th November, 1755, and it is 
worthy of note that the whole of the ex- 
pense was defrayed from particular funds 
belonging to the church, and no part of the 
charge was either imposed upon the in- 
habitants or contributed by them. 

St. Nicholas was for many years a col- 
legiate charge. Its four ministers wire 
attached to the first, second, and third 
charges, and the sub-charge of Greyfriars, 
the Greyfriars minister also acting as Pro- 
fessor of Divinity in the University. In 
the first charge, which afterwards became 
the West Parish, the order of succession 
until the division of the city parishes, was 
as follows:— 1560, Adam Heriot ; 1573, 
John Craig; 1582, Peter Blakburne : 1596, 
David Cunningham ; 1601, Archibald Blak- 
burne ; 1626, James Sibbald, A.M.; 1641. 
Andrew Cant, A.M. ; 1664, William Gray : 
1666, Patrick Sibbald ; 1686, Andrew Bur- 
nett, A.M. ; 1696, James Osburne ; 1702. 
Colin Campbell ; 1759, James Ogilvie, A.M. ; 
1776, William Farquhar ; 1779, James 
Shirreffs, A.M. ; 1814, George Glennie, 
A.M. Many of these were men of out- 
standing parts, and in their day and gene- 
ration they filled a large place in the life 
of the community and in the ecclesiastical 
world at large. Adam Heriot, who was the 
first to be appointed, had a stipend amount- 
ing to about £17 in sterling money, with 
sundry perquisites, including "a doublet, 
with a bonnet and hose, all of black," pre- 
sented annually by the magistrates. Some 
of the ministers named were men of dis- 
tinctive personality, such as Andrew Cant. 
Dr. James Shirreffs rose to be Moderator 
of the General Assembly in 1807, and he 
held many local offices, including that of 
patron of the Incorporated Trades. 

In 1828 a very important alteration was 
made in the ecclesiastical arrangements of 
the city by the division of the one parish 
of St. Nicholas into six parishes — the West, 
East, North, South, Greyfriars, and St. 
Clement's. At this time there were four 
ministers who held the position of ministers 
of the collegiate charge of St. Nicholas — 
the Rev. Dr. Glennie, who usually minis- 



tered in the West portion of the church ; 
the Rev. John Murray, and the Rev. James 
Foote in the east portion, and the Rev. 
Abercromby Gordon in the sub-charge of 
Greyfriars. Under the new arrangement, 
Dr. Glennie became minister of the West 
Parish, Mr. Foote of the East Parish, and 
Mr. Murray was appointed to the North, 
then about to be erected. 

Dr. Glennie held the charge of the 
West until 1836, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Dr. Alexander Dyce David- 
son, formerly of the South. Dr. David- 
son made a name for himself as one 
of the foremost preachers in the city, 
and his ministry in the West Parish was 
followed by great success. He continued 
as minister of the parish until the Dis- 
ruption in 1843, when he left to join the 
Free Church, carrying a very large pro- 
portion of his congregation along with him. 
His subsequent career as minister of the 
Free West until the day of his death was 
one of exceptional influence and power. 
The first minister of the West Parish after 
the Disruption was the Rev. James 
Forsyth, who was inducted to the charge 
in 1843. Dr. Forsyth, as he was afterwards 
known, filled a large place in the life of 
the city for many years. A man of con- 
siderable force of character, and advanced 
in his views as to parochial effort, he in- 
troduced several new features of work, and 
made his personality felt alike in the con- 
gregation and in the community. While 
not exactly of a commanding appearance, 
he ever bore himself with a certain air of 
stateliness. He fully upheld the dignity of 
''the cloth," and never forgot that he was 
minister of the West Parish and of the 
City Church of Aberdeen. After twenty- 
six years of active work in the charge, Dr. 
Forsyth felt his strength unequal to a con- 
tinuance of the responsibility, and in 1869 
the Rev. Henry Cowan (now Professor 
Cowan, D.D.) was settled as his assistant 
and successor. Dr. Cowan was minister of 
the West Parish for about four years, re- 
signing it in 1873, in order to further the 
Church extension movement in the city. 
He took charge of the new congregation 
at Ferryhill for a short time, until Rubis- 
law Church, of which he had been appointed 
the first minister, was ready for opening. 
His subsequent ministry in New Greyfriars, 
Edinburgh, and his return to Aberdeen as 
Professor of Church History in the Univer- 
sity, are matters of common knowledge ; 
and there is no more highly respected citizen 
in our midst to-day. By his unfailing cour- 
tesy and liberal Christian sympathies, he 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



has won the cordial esteem of all classes in 
the community. 

A successor to Dr. Cowan was found in 
the person of the Rev. A. Irvine Robertson, 
of Cluny, Perthshire, whose induction took 
place in 1874. His pastorate also was a 
short one. In 1877 he accepted a call to 
Clackmannan, where he still remains. Mr. 
(now Dr.) Irvine Robertson took an interest 
in various forms of Christian work in the 
city, and he was one of the original pro- 
moters of the Aberdeen Y.M.C.A. It may 
be mentioned that it was during his pas- 
torate that the great East Church fire took 
place, which drove the congregation of the 
West from their own building for about a 
year, during which they met for worship 
in the Music Hall. In the spring of 1878 
a call was addressed to the Rev. J. Mitford 
Mitchell, then colleague minister of Paisley 
Abbey, and with his acceptance of the in- 
vitation and settlement in the pastorate, 
the West Church entered on a new era of 
prosperity. Dr. Mitchell (as he after- 
wards became) soon proved that he 
possessed organising power above the 
average, and no man has left a deeper 
impress on the congregation of the West 
Parish. Many of the excellent agencies at 
work to-day owe their inception to him. 
and others received a new lease of life from 
the influence he exerted. His boundless 
energy, his warm interest in the whole body 
of the people, his personal qualities, his 
generous liberality, and his pulpit gifts 
soon began to tell. A change had also 
come over the complexion of the congrega- 
tion. At one time three of the galleries 
in the church were regularly required by 
public institutions — the Gordon's Hospital 
boys occupying the west gallery, the 
Emslie Institution girls the north. 
and the Deaf and Dumb children the 
south. By changes in the administra- 
tion of these institutions, the portions of 
the church set apart for them became avail- 
able for the general public, and the space 
was soon utilised to the full. When Dr. Mit- 
chell retired from the ministry of the West 
Church in 1894, and withdrew from active 
pastoral work, he left the congregation at 
a higher point than it had ever before seen. 
Under the next minister, the Rev. R. H. 
Fisher, B.D., who was called from Jed- 
burgh in 1896 its position was fully main- 
tained. Mr. Fisher had held several im- 
portant charges, and he possessed distinc- 
tive preaching gifts with his graceful dic- 
tion and eloquent delivery. In Aberdeen 
he soon became known as one of the most 
popular and able preachers in the city, and 



when he went to Morningside Church. 
Edinburgh, in 1900, he left the Aberdeen 
pulpit perceptibly poorer. 

The vacancy was not speedily filled 
up, but ultimately a call was ad- 
dressed to the Rev. Andrew Brown, 
minister of Ceres, and formally ac- 
cepted by him. Mr. Brown'6 ministry 
began in 1901 , and it was continued amid 




Rev. Andrew Brown, M.A. 

tokens of growing prosperity and success. 
A native of Montrose, and a graduate of 
St Andrews University, Mr. Brown took 
the full course of training, with high dis- 
tinction, and afterwards studied for a time 
both in Greece and Germany. Hi6 first 
experience of the practical work of the 
ministry was gained at Kirkcaldy, where 
he acted as assistant for two years prior to 
his election to the parish of Ceres in 1897. 
He had barely four years of the quiet life 
of a country minister when he was called 
to undertake the arduous and exacting 
duties of a city charge, and that charge 
one of the most influential in the Church 
of Scotland. Although quite a young man. 
he soon proved his fitness for the task. 
His popular pulpit gifts at once se- 
cured attention and appreciation. Even 
at the first there was no trace of im- 
maturity in his preaching, and he 
speedily took an easy place among 
the leading pulpit forces of the city, and 






West Church of S. Nicholas. 




SERVICE 

In Grateful and Loving Remembrance 

OF 

Members and Adherents who gave their Lives 
during the War, 

ON 

Sunday, 30th November, 1919 

(St. Andrew's Day), 

AT 11 A.M. 



->-+< 



OFFICIATING CLERGYMEN: 

Rev. A. W. SGUDAMORE FORBES, B.D. 
Rev. Prof. COWAN, D.D., D.C.L., etc. 
Rev. GEORGE P. M'WILLIAM, M.A. 



WEST PARISH CHURCH 



79 



maintained his position in the front rank 
throughout the whole of his remarkably 
successful ministry in Aberdeen. Jn 
November, 1907, Mr. Brown accepted a 
call to Queen's Park Church, Glasgow, and 
the vacancy in the West Parish was filled 
in May, 190S, by the election of Rev. A. 
Stuart Martin, B.D., of Scone. Mr. 
Martin had been a brilliant student, and 
after his ordination at Scone in 1904 he 
had distinguished himself as an able writer 
on theological subjects, and a man of keen 
intellectual gifts. 

So much for the ministers of the West 
Church. Much could also be said on the 
precentors, among whom the most out- 
standing was certainly Mr. William Carnie. 
It would be impossible to over-rate the im- 
portance of Mr. Carnie 's work in that 
capacity. As the chief of precentors in the 
north, he wielded an immense influence, 
and admission to his choir was regarded 
by youthful aspirants as the first step to 
success and fame in the musical profession. 
The musical part of the service in Mr. 
Carnie's day was always one of the attrac- 
tions of the church. 

Turning to the geneial membership, 
it will be found that in every de- 
cade for several centuries the West 
Church has claimed the allegiance of some 
of the foremost sons of Bon-Accord. Even 
within recent years there have been mans 
notable citizens on its roll. Tt must 
be sufficient to cite representative 
names such as those of Lord Pro- 
vost Henry, Lord Provost Nicol, Pro- 
fessor Black, the Chalmerses of the " Aber- 
deen Journal," and Dr. Alexander Walker 
In the present day the kirk-session con- 
tains prominent public men such as ex- 
Lord Provost Walker, Colonel Allardyce, 
Dr. Joseph Ogilvie, late Rector of the 
Church of Scotland Training College ; Mi'. 
Theodore Crombie ; Mr. Alexander Edmond, 
jun. ; Mr. Charles Cook, Mr. Patrick 
Cooper, Colonel Cruden, and Baillie Todd. 
Then in the ranks of the membership, 
although not in office, there are to be found 
Professor Ogston (whose father was a lead- 
ing figure in the Church in earlier days), 
Professor Reid, Colonel Youngson, and 
many others. The office of session clerk 
is filled with ability and efficiency by Mr. 
George A. Simpson, advocate; and the 
West Church Congregational Fund, which 
was originated by that zealous churchman, 
the late Mr. Lauchlan M'Kinnon, is now 
in charge of Mr. Robert Grant, Cromdale 
House. The kirk-session of the West 
Church is perhaps unique in the fact that 



it includes two former ministers of the con- 
gregation- Professor Cowan and Dr. Mit- 
foi'd Mitchell both of whom serve as 
elders. 

There is a great variety of vigorous arid 
well-directed effort on the part of members 
of the congregation— both in the Parish 
Buildings, Back Wynd, and in the Loch 
Street and Gallowgate Mission district, hi 
carrying on the work of the congregation 
and of its missions, good service has been 
rendered by the assistant ministers who 
have from time to time held office. Two 
have generally been employed, and many 
of those who have passed through the West 




Rev. A. Stuart Martin, B.D. 

Church are now in important pastorates of 
their own in various parts of the country. 
Every organisation is working harmoni- 
ously, and the amount of active effort put 
forth both by ministers and people would 
perhaps surprise those who know the West 
Church only as the worshipping place of 
the citizens on ceremonial occasions. 

It is the subject of common remark that 
the West Church is always filled. The cry 
of non-attendance is never heard within 
the walls of this ancient edifice. There 
may be a certain attraction in the building 
itself and its associations, or in its fine 
service, but the West Church people are 
loyal to their ministers — past as well as 
present — and they give them hearty sup- 
port. Yet the audience, especially in the 



80 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



evenings, is largely a general audience. It 
is representative of many Churches and 
creeds, and strangers spending Sunday in 
the city always find their way in large 
numbers to the venerable City Clhureh. 
The West Kirk, associated as it has 



been for centuries with historic gatherings 
of the citizens for humiliation or thanks- 
giving at great crises in national history, 
now venerable with age arH hoary .vith 
tradition, is still palpitating with lite, find 
fresh with the vigour of youth. 



M ..-. '■■' #■***►'* ' 



EfflBW^KEfry/,-'^ 1 1 « "i 



Ex-City Minister to be 



FALSE TESTIMONIALS.^ 

The principal business of public interest at 
the meeting of the Synod of Aberdeen in the 
West Church, Aberdeen, on Tuesday, was con- i 
sideration of " dissent and complaint against 
judgment by the Presbytery of Aberdeen 
in the case of Mr A. S. Martin," late minister 
of the West Church, and formerly of Scone 
Parish Church. The result of protracted deli- 
beration was that the Synod unanimously sus- 
tained the judgment of "the Presbytery in de- 
ciding to depose Mr Martin for . fabricating 
certain testimonials. 

Stuart Martin Case. 

The libol against Mr Martin was that, having 
fabricated certain testimonials, he sent printed 
copies of them, together with an application to 
the session clerk of Lochee Parish Church for 
the post of locum ten ens. and another set, with 
a similar application, to the session clerk of East 
Dulwich Church, London, for a vacant charge 
there. The Presbytery of Aberdeen, by 20 
votes to 2, found the libel proved, and by 16 
I votes to 6, further resolved, on the motion of 
J the clerk (the Rev. J. T. Cox), seconded by the 
I Rev. Dr Gordon J. Murray, to depose Mr 
Martin from the office of trie holy ministry, the 
minority supporting a motion, moved by the 
Rev. J. N. Cuthbert, and seconded by the Rev. 
, James Ra.e, that tie Presbytery find Sir Martin 
i committed the acts complained of while suffer- 
ing from a serious mental breakdown, which 
rendered him wholly irresponsible for his be- 
haviour, and that before sentence be pronounced 
medical evidence be sought of his state of mind. 
The Revs. J. N. Cuthbert, James Smith, and 
James Rae dissented, and complained to the 
Synod. 

Messrs Cuthbert, Smith, and Rae appeared 
at the Synod for themselves, and Mr Cox and 
Dr Murray for the Presbytery. 
After parties had been heard, 
Dr Bruce, Banff, moved 

That the Synod dismiss the dissent and 
complaint, sustain the judgment of the 
Presbytery, and instruct the Presbytery to 
proceed to carry out the sentence according 
to the law. 

The Rev. A, A. Duncan, Auchterless, 
seconded. 

The motion was agreed to unanimously. 

Dr Spence stated that he had intended to 
movo another motion, but since hearing the 
case, he had departed from his intention. 

Parties acquiesced in the Synod's decision. 



XXII— WOODSIDE PARISH CHURCH. 




Woodside Parish Church. 

This church is now merely one among 
many Parish Churches in the city of Aber- 
deen, but it has a history peculiarly its 
own. Some features of it are, indeed, quite 
unique in their way. 

It was in the year 1828 that the first 
steps were taken for the erection of a 
Presbyterian Church at Woodside, the re- 
ligious wants of the district having up to 
that time been supplied mainly by the 
Wesleyan Methodists and the Congrega- 
tionalists. The Wesleyans fell into dis- 
repute with the people by bringing a 
female to address meetings ; but the Con- 
gregationalists were more fortunate, and 
in 1819 they built a small church known 
as Cotton Chapel, which was the precursor 
of the Congregational chapel of to-day. 
The bulk of the inhabitants of the district 
were, however, Presbyterians, and the in- 
convenience of having no place of worship 
of their own persuasion nearer than Old- 
machar Cathedral or Gilcomston Chapel of 
Ease was severely felt. A movement was, 



therefore, set on foot to secure the long- 
desired privilege, the originator being Mr. 
Irvine Kempt, engineer, Woodside Works, 
tlie stepfather of Sir John Anderson, one 
of the most distinguished sons of Woodside, 
and its greatest benefactor. Mr. Kempt 
represented the case to Mr. Alexander 
Biown, then one of the proprietors of Wood- 
side Works, and Mr. Brown, who was a 
brother of the late Principal Brown, of 
Aberdeen Free Church College, gave the 
undertaking his practical support. The 
erection of a Chapel of Ease was formally 
sanctioned by the Presbytery in 1829, and 
the plans of a building prepared by Mr. 
Archibald Simpson, architect, were duly 
passed. The chapel, capable of accommo- 
dating 1200, was opened for public worship 
on Sunday, 9th May, 1830, the service in 
the forenoon being conducted by Rev. Dr. 
Patrick Forbes, of Oldmachar, in the after- 
noon by Rev. John Duncan (afterwards the 
eminent Hebrew scholar), and in the even- 
ing by the famous Dr. Kidd. Mr. Duncan 
was afterwards appointed to supply the 
pulpit until the election of a minister. This 
proved a somewhat exciting and trouble- 
some matter. Three candidates were on 
the leet, and after much contention Rev. 
Andrew Gray, Aberdeen, wa6 declared 
elected by a majority of 21 votes over Rev. 
Alexander Leitch, Gartmore. The election 
took place on 23rd September, 1830, but 
feeling ran high, and it was not until 1st 
September, 1831, that it was possible to 
proceed with the ordination of Mr. Gray. 
The officiating minister on the occasion was 
Rev. W. R. Pirie, of Dyce, afterwards 
Principal of Aberdeen University. In 1834, 
by an Act of Assembly, the Chapel of Ease 
became Woodside Parish Church, although 
there was a long controversy in the Pres- 
bytery, Synod, and General Assembly over 
the disjunction of the new " quoad sacra " 
parish. 

Mr. Gray, who was thus the first minister 
of the church, was evidently a man of con- 
siderable ability and an energetic worker 
with a marked power of initiative. He 
stayed only a comparatively short time, but 
in various ways he left his mark in the 
district. His manner in the pulpit has 
been described in Morgan's " Annale of 
Woodside" as "lively, occasionally rising 
into rapture on some delightful theme, or, 
when dealing with some form of wickedness 



82 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



or error, he would raise his voice and fall 
into a kind of fury, sparing neither his 
pulpit Bible nor hi,s impenitent hearers." 
Mr. Gray laboured with great assiduity for 
the good of the people. For the young he 
was specially solicitous, organising a large 
Sunday School and raising the necessary 
funds for the erection of a large day school, 
which is now used as the Burgh Hall. He 
also instituted a congregational library, 
of which Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Ander- 
son was librarian, and which thus fore- 
shadowed the excellent Anderson Library 
possessed by Woodside to-day. In the 
early years of his ministry Mr. Gray had 
many difficulties to encounter, mainly on 
account of the divided state of the con- 
gregation at the time of his settlement. 
Ho had also the misfortune to get into 
bad terms with the Messrs. Had den, who 
refused him permission to use the Grand- 
holm Bridge, so that when visiting his 
parishioners on the north side of the river 
he was compelled to go round by the old 
Bridge of Balgownie. The petty persecu- 
tions, however, ceased in a few years, and 
the keen feeling subsided ; and when Mr. 
Gray was called to the West Church of 
Perth in 183C he left with the warmest 
esteem and regard of an attached and 
united congregation. He died on 10th 
March, 1861, in the 56th year of his age. 

The vacancy at Woodside was filled in 
less than six months by the ordination on 
26th December, 1836, of a promising young 
Aberdeen probationer, Rev. Robert Forbes. 
Mr. Forbes was a man of outstanding 
parts, and the power of his personality was 
soon felt throughout the whole community. 
The lai'ge church was crowded to overflow- 
ing, and as a temperance worker, Bible 
Class teacher, and lecturer on scientific 
subjects, he became extremely popular. In 
1843 he joined the Free Church party at 
the Disruption, and became the founder 
and first minister of Woodside Free Church 
and his subsequent history is bound up 
with the records of that congregation. 

The story of the Disruption period in 
Woodside is one of special interest. When 
Mr. Forbes left the Establishment he was 
then almost at the height of his remark- 
able influence, and it was not surprising 
that he carried by far the larger portion of 
the congregation with him. A curious 
deadlock then occurred. Mr. Forbes and 
his supporters worshipped first in the school 
playground and afterwards in a wooden 
church which was erected in a field behind 
the school, the church being claimed by 
the Established party, although they repu- 



diated a debt of £1200 which still rested 
on the building. Of the twelve trustees in 
whom the property was vested, eleven had 
.seceded with Mr. Forbes, the only one re- 
maining being Mr. John Wight. The eleven 
trustees petitioned the Presbytery to re- 
lieve them of the church and its burden of 
debt, but the request was refused. Ulti- 
mately the case went to the Court of Ses- 
sion ; and, after 18 months, the judges 
decided that the church and the debt must 
go together. Accordingly, the property 
was exposed for sale, and it was purchased 
by the Free Church party, Mr. Forbes and 
his followers taking over both the building 
and the burden resting on it in January, 
1845. This made a strange Disruption pic- 
ture. Those who went out to join the Free 
Church returned to occupy their old sanc- 
tuary ; while those who maintained their 
adherence to the Establishment found 
themselves cast out. The experience must 
have been almost unique in these eventful 
clays in the ecclesiastical life of Scotland. 

The Established Church party there- 
after met for a time in Cotton Chapel, the 
use of which was granted them for Sunday 
evening services. In 1846 they called to 
the pastorate Rev. James Ross Sutherland, 
M.A., and a movement led by Mr. John 
Reid. grocer, for the erection of a new 
church was being steadily pushed forward. 
Mr. Reid secured substantial help from 
sympathising friends all over Scotland, and 
the outcome of the effort was the erection 
of the present Parish Church, a building 
of considerable dimensions with an impos- 
ing tower. The opening services were held 
on 14th September, 1849. In the mean- 
time, however, there had been a change 
in the pastorate, Mr. Sutherland having 
been succeeded in that year by Rev. James 
Wallis. The ministry of Mr. Wallis con- 
tinued for nearly five years with no 
specially outstanding feature. In 1854 Rev. 
Malcolm Munro Ross, M.A., was ordained 
to the parish, and he proved an earnest and 
devoted worker. Mr. Ross was a man of 
missionary zeal, and in 1859 he resigned 
his charge in order to proceed to China as 
a missionary. The next minister. Rev. 
William Murray Keay. M.A.. laboured at 
Woodside for 14 years. That he was a man 
of excellent spirit may be inferred from the 
fact that he speedily won the high esteem 
of his predecessor and clerical neighbour. 
Mr. Forbes. They became intimate friends 
during the few months they were neigh- 
bours, and on the Sunday after the sudden 
death of Mr. Forbes Mr. Keay preached a 
very impressive sermon from the text, 



EX-BAILLIE JOHN COUTTS, 
ABERDEEN. 




The death took place suddenly on Tuesday of 
Mr John Coutts, J.P., a former member of the 
Town Council and pji ex-Magistrate of the city. 
Mr Coutts had been in ill-health for some time, 
suffering from ne.vous breakdown, and only 
Last month he sent a letter of resignation to 
the town clerk, and the vacancy caused thereby 
is to bo filled up at the- next meeting of the 
Council. 

Mr Coutts, "who was 56 years of acre, was a, 
native of Lumphanan, where his father "was a 
shoemaker, and he came to Aberdeen with his 
parents when a boy. He served his apprentice- 
ship tc the grocery trade with Messrs James 
Littlcjohn and Sons, Green, and over twenty 
years ago founded the business of John Coutts, 
wholesale merchant, Catherine Stroet. By 
enere-y and enterprise, he built up a successful 
■grocery trade, particularly in confectionery. 
With Woodside he had practically a life-long 
connection. His parents resided in the ward, 
and there he erected the villa of Cosey Knowe, 
Clifton Road. Mr Coutts "was a prominent 
member of the Woodside Parliamentary Debat- 
ing Society, and was leader of the Conservative 
Party. He al^o took a prominent part in the 
affairs- of the Parish Guild, and was a member 
of the St Machar Lodge of Freemasons. For 
many years he was an office-bearer of the 
Woodside Parish Church, under the ministry 
of the Rev. John Fairlia. 

Mr Coutts first entered the Town Council in 

1896, and had been a. member ever since, with 

the exception of two years — November, 1910, 

to November, 1912, when he was defeated on 

the Avon water 6cheme by Baillie Smith. He 

I had never represented any other ward than 

j Woodside. He defeated Baillie Scott and re- 

| entered the Council in 1912. Mr Coutts gave 

18 years' devoted civic Bervice to the community 

in general and Woodside in particular. For 

two years he occupied a seat on the bench — • 

fourth baillie in 1904 and second baillio in 1905. 

He was a man of singularly good-natured and 
genial disposition, and exceedingly popular 
with his colleagues in the Council, and with 
all who were associated wiih him in public or 
private life. His death at a comparatively 
early age will be deeply regretted by all who 
knew him. He is survived by Mis Coutts and 
family. 

:0: 



WOODSIDE PARISH CHURCH 



83 




" How long have I to live ? " to a crowded 
congregation, which included many mem- 
bers of the Free Church. The good rela- 
tions existing between the two ministers 
and congregations were further attested 
by the fact that on the following Sunday 
tlie Established Church was closed and the 
congregation joined their brethren of the 
Free Church at a special funeral service. 
After doing good vrork at Woodside and 
completing the endowment of the parish 
in 1862, Mr. Keay accepted a call to 
Foveran, where he laboured from 1872 
until his death. He was succeeded by Rev. 
William Shepherd, M.A., a man of fine 
personality, whose influence was widely felt. 
Mr. Shepherd's high-toned character, his 
faithfulness as a worker, and, especially, 
his devotion and zeal in the discharge of 
his pastoral duties, endeared him to the 
congregation, and there was profound sor- 
row when his death occurred at the early 
age of 42. His ministry of 12 years is still 
a cherished memory in Woodside. 

The next in order of succession was Rev. 
John Ogilvie, M.A., who was ordained to 
the charge in 1885. In his time the church 
made considerable progress. Mr. Ogilvie's 
quiet but effective pulpit gifts attracted 
steadily increasing congregations, and an 
enlargement of the church was rendered 
necessary. Unfortunately, his health broke 
down, and he was compelled to resign his 
charge and seek a more favourable climate 
in Australia. He has since returned to 



this country, and its now minister of Slains. 
Mr. Ogilvie was succeeded by Rev. David 
P. M'Lees, whose ordination took place 
in 1890. Mr. M'Lees soon made his mark 
in Woodside. He had a strong personality, 
and abilities much above the average. In 
the pulpit he excelled. Tall and command- 
ing in appearance, he made an excellent 
figure, and seemed to dominate his 
audience. His preaching was eloquent and 
inspiring. While his sermons were models 
of conciseness and lucidity and charac- 
terised by a lofty and dignified tone, they 
were also charged with an intensity of pur- 
pose which made them impressive and tell- 
ing to a degree. Mr. M'Lees had the note 
of a true preacher. A man of strong con- 
victions, he was fearlessly outspoken in his 
pulpit utterances, and he commanded the 
respect of all his hearers by his unflinching 
courage. Very large congregations were 
drawn to hear him, especially on Sunday 
evenings, when many members of other 
denominations invariably found their way 
to the Parish Church. Mr. M'Lees' preach- 
ing, by its robust thoughtfulness and the 
freshness and vigour of its expression 
proved specially attractive to young men 
and women, and these classes were to be 
found in large numbers both at the Church 
services and in his Bible Class. His in- 
fluence was also felt in other ways. He 




Rev. John Fairlie. 



F2 



84 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



took up the movement which originated in 
Mr. Ogilvie's time for the erection of parish 
halls, and had the satisfaction of seeing it 
carried to a successful completion and the 
buildings opened for the use of the con- 
gregation. In 1895 Mr. M'Lees accepted 
a call to the North Church, Stirling, and he 
was succeeded at Woodside by the present 
minister, Rev. John Fairlie. Mr. Fairlie 
has continued the work of hi6 predecessors, 
and has striven in various ways to develop 
the activities of the congregation. In ad- 
dition to his parish duties he has taken a 
considerable share of public work, and, in 
particular, has rendered good service as a 
member of the Aberdeen School Board for 
more than one term. 



Woodside Parish is evidently not con- 
ducive to long pastorates, seven years being 
about the average for the ten ministers 
who have held the charge from its forma- 
tion until now. This does not hold true of 
all the officials, for the present church 
officer, Mr. Alexander Sinclair, ha6 been 
on duty for about 30 years. The church in 
bygone years did not a little to mould the 
life and character of " Printfield loons," 
who afterwards rose to eminence in the 
world. It has the same work before it to- 
day, and by means of its flourishing Sun- 
day School and its various agencies it is 
seeking so to influence the present genera- 
tion as to make it not unworthy of the 
generations which have gone before. 



City Minister's Charge. 

The Rev. Neil Munro Murray, M.A.. who for 
some months was locum tenens at Beechgrove 
U.K. Church, Aberdeen, and later a-t Carden 
Place U.F. Churoh, Aberdeen, was last, night 
inducted to the pastoral charge of Lambert West 
U.F. Church by the L.m.hthg'ow and Falkirk 
Presbytery. The Rev. T. B. Robertson, M.A., a 
former minister at Aberdeen, and now of Bains- 
ford Church, Falkirk, presided at the induction 
senvice. <^i£? i-J- ~?-'4/y 



UNITED FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. 



XXIII.— BEECHGROVE UNITED FREE CHURCH 




Beechgrove U.F. Church. 

The Free Church gained a strong hold 
in Aberdeen at the Disruption, and for 
nearly thirty years it was content with the 
work of consolidating its position. In the 
early seventies, however, an extension 
movement was initiated, which led to the 
formation of several new congregations 
within a few years. Between 1872 and 



1876 Ruthrieston, Ferryhill, and Torry 
were added to the churches of the city. 
In 1879 Causewayend was formed, with 
Queen's Cross a year or two later, and 
then followed another long interval. No 
further steps were taken for other four- 
teen or fifteen years, when it was found 
that an entirely new residential district 
was springing up in the vicinity of Mile- 
End and Mid Stocket Road. Building 
operations were constantly in progress, new 
streets were being rapidly opened up, and 
the population was steadily increasing. It 
was felt that the Church ought to do some- 
thing to cope with the situation thus 
created, and the matter was fully con- 
sidered and discussed for some time. 

Various informal meetings were held, at 
which the project of erecting a new church 
in the district was favourably entertained, 
and in December, 1896, the movement was 
formally initiated. The leading part in 
the negotiations was taken by Lord Provost 
Fleming and Mr. Thomas Ogilvie, and the 
Presbytery gave its cordial sanction and 
help to the new extension scheme. The 
original Local Committee was a large body 
representative of many congregations in 
the city. It consisted of Lord Provost 
Fleming and Mr. Thomas Ogilvie (joint 
conveners), Mr. It. Boyd Finlayson (clerk), 
Rev. Principal Salmond, Messrs. J. D. 
Mackie, William Robertson, H. G. Murray, 
R. Meldrum, H. R. Souper, John 
Strachan, G. T. Harvey, R. Murray, Wm. 
Hay, J. Lyall Grant, D. M. Smith, A. C. 
Bruce, William Murray, J. L. Rhind, John 
Gray, J. L. Edmond, James Lorimer, 
Adam Mainland, Gavin Sinclair, D. J. 
Campbell, John Gordon, George Morgan, 
Alexander Duffus, J. F. Cruickshank. 
Peter Smart, George Taylor, J. C. Ander- 
son, G. M. Warrack, Alexander Gordon, 
Duncan Clarke, and W. A. Keys. Many 
of the members of this committee, while 
taking part in its early work, continued 
their connection with their own congrega- 
tions. Others joined the new cause, and 
remain actively associated with it as office- 
bearers, one of the most prominent being 



86 



THE CHUliCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Sir John Fleming, whose warm interest in 
Beechgrove Church from its inception to 
the present day has been of the utmost 
value. 

It was decided to proceed with the 
erection of a church and other buildings 
on a large and generous scale. Although 
the initial outlay would be considerable, it 
was felt, under the circumstances, to be 
the wise course to provide a complete suite 
of buildings thoroughly equipped from the 
outset. An excellent site was secured at 
the corner of Beechgrove Avenue and Mid 
Stoeket Road, and the committee invited 
designs for the new buildings. The com- 
petition resulted in the selection by the 
professional assessor of the design sub- 
mitted by Messrs. Brown & Watt, archi- 
tects. The buildings, when completed, 
arrested attention by reason of the refine- 
ment and dignity of the design and the 
soaring, stately spire ; and they asserted 
themselves at once amongst the finest 
ecclesiastical edifices in the city. All the 
accessories to a developed and well-regu- 
lated church are provided, and the halls 
and classrooms and vestries are pic- 
turesquely planned and thoroughly ecclesi- 
astical in feeling The total cost was over 
£10,000. A memorial stone was placed in 
the porch during the progress of the works 
by the Rev. Principal Rainy, and the 
opening services took place in December, 
1900, the preacher on the occasion being 
Rev. Dr. John Smith, of Bioughton Place 
Church, Edinburgh. He took note of 
the circumstance that this was one of the 
first churches to be opened after the Union. 
Their labour of love, he said, had become 
invested with a historic interest. Begun 
in the Free Church, and dedicated to 
Christian service within the larger fellow- 
ship of the United Free Church of Scot- 
land, it would stand to all time as a 
memorial of a great union. 

The next important step in the history 
of the new congregation was the appoint- 
ment of its first minister. A unanimous 
and hearty call was addressed to Rev. 
Hugh R. Mackintosh, D.Phil., of Tayport, 
who had been one of the foremost students 
of his time, and, although then one of the 
youngest ministers of the Church, was 
coming to be known as a most promising 
theologian. Dr. Mackintosh accepted the 
invitation, and was inducted at Beechgrove 
on 25th April, 1901. 

The congregation from the date of Dr. 
Mackintosh's settlement made rapid pro- 
gress in numbers. The pews gradually 
filled up, the membership steadily in- 
creased, and there wa6 every evidence of 



prosperity. In a short time the success of 
Beechgrove Church was an assured fact, 
and there can be no doubt that this 
was largely owing to Dr. Mackintosh's in- 
fluence and work. His unaffected earnest- 
ness, his strength as a preacher, and not 
least his fascinating personality made a 
marked impression. His diligence as a 
writer and his growing fame as a theolo- 
gian attracted to the church a very large 
body of University students, and in this 
way Beechgrove benefited by Dr. Mackin- 




Professor H. R. Mackintosh. 

tosh's wide reputation. In another way- 
it suffered, for he became so widely known 
that the General Assembly of 1904 ap- 
pointed him to succeed Dr. Laidlaw in the 
Professorship of Systematic Theology in 
the New College, Edinburgh. His short 
ministry — only extending as it did over 
three years — left its mark on Beechgrove 
congregation. Not only did he gather the 
bulk of the membership, but he saw the 
church thoroughly organised in Christian 
effort, and left it as a nourishing and pro- 
sperous suburban charge. 



BEECHGROVE UNITED FREE CHURCH 



87 




Rev. Frederick J. Rae, M.A. 

A vacancy of several months followed, 
in course of which a bazaar was held on 
a large scale for the reduction of the debt 
on the church buildings. Ultimately Rev. 
Frederick J. Rae, M.A., of Newport, was 
unanimously elected to the pastorate, and 
having accepted the call he was inducted 
on 20th January, 1905. After a distin- 
guished career as a student, Mr. Rae had 
been ordained at Newport in 1891, and had 
thus acquired considerable experience in 
the practical work of the ministry. During 
his thirteen years' pastorate at Newport, 
he had gained the reputation of being a 
cultured and thoughtful preacher and a 
vigorous worker. On coming to Beech- 
grove he entered heartily into all its 
schemes and efforts, and has maintained its 
efficiency in all departments. Under his 
ministry the membership has been still 



further increased, and the interests and 
activities of the congregation have been 
developed. 

As might be expected of a suburban 
church, Beechgrove has a good Sunday 
School and Band of Hope. The agencies 
also include a large Bible Class, Fellowship 
and Literary Associations, Working Party, 
etc. In addition to the purely congrega- 
tional organisations, a mission is carried on 
at Kingshill. This work formerly had its 
centre in Rubislaw School, and was in 
charge of members of Queen's Cross 
Church. Since its removal to its present 
sphere, the Mission Sunday School has been 
zealously conducted. 

Beechgrove Church within the few years 
of its existence has succeeded in drawing 
to itself a congregation of between 400 and 
500 members. It must, of course, be ad- 
mitted that this has been done largely at 
the expense of mid-city churches, but the 
same might be said in some degree of every 
extension charge. The fact is in no sense 
derogatory to Beechgrove, yet it consti- 
tutes a problem which it will have to solve. 
A large congregation, so quickly gathered 
together from i,o many different quarters, 
and from other churches, each with their 
own distinct characteristics, and, it may 
be, from other denominations, with differ- 
ent forms and methods, must of necessity 
require time for the various elements in its 
composition to coalesce. If Beechgrove 
has this process to face, as other new con- 
gregations in their own measure have had 
t(-. face it, there are many encouragements 
and abundant indications of future pro- 
gress. The district in which the church is 
situated is still a growing one, and it bids 
fair to increase even more largely in the 
immediate future. With a large residential 
population at its very doors, and an able 
minister in its pulpit, there is no reason 
why there should not be in its pews for 
many years to come an ever-increasing and 
influential membership. 



XXIV— BELMONT STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Belmont Street U.F. Church. 

The founding, in 1777, of what is known 
to-day as Belmont Street United Free 
Church was one of the local results of the 
(Secession movement which was then stirring 
Scotland. When Ebenezer Erskine and his 
three brethren met in 1733 in the little way- 
side inn at Gairney Bridge, near Kinross, 
and formed the Secession Church, the)' were 
not without sympathisers. All over Scot- 
land there were those who felt ready to 
cast in their lot with them, and Aberdeen 
proved no exception to other parts of the 
country. Rev. John Bisset, minister of 
the East Parish Church, was one who felt 
strongly drawn to the Secession and it.s 
leaders. Mi - . Bisset was a most estimable 
man — "that eminent and faithful servant 
of Jesus Christ, the very reverend and 
worthy Mr. John Bisset," as the " Aber- 
deen Journal " of the day described him. 
It is known that on more than one occa- 
sion Mr. Bisset made overtures to Erskine 
and his friends, but the negotiations some- 
how never led to any practical result. Mr. 
Bisset continued minister of the East 
Church until his death in 1756, but he has 
nevertheless the honour of being the Father 
of the Secession in Abea-deen. It may be 
regarded as the effect of his influence that, 
shortly after he had himself passed away, 
a number of his followers left the Estab- 
lishment in two parties, one of which allied 
itself with the Burgher Synod, while the 
other sought connection with the Anti- 
Burghers. It is from the latter party, the 
Anti-Burgher Secession, that the congre- 
gation of Belmont Street U.F. Church has 
arisen. 



There were only seven — the sacred num- 
ber — to begin the cause, and these seven 
met as a Praying Society in a room in the 
Spital. The numbers increased, and hopes 
were cherished that a regular congrega- 
tion might be formed. As it was, the 
members were formally connected with 
Craigdam Church, and they walked all the 
way from the city to be present at the 
Communion sendees there. After several 
ineffectual petitions to the Presbytery, sent 
through the Craigdam Session, and cor- 
dially endorsed by them, liberty was 
granted, on 12th November, 1777, to form 
a congregation in Aberdeen. For two 
years thereafter woiship was continued in 
the Spital, and then the congregation pro- 
ceeded to erect a place of worship. On 2nd 
April, 1779, part of the Gaberetone Croft, 
in Belmont Street, was feued. Before the 
same month was ended the building was 
in progress, and by the first Sunday of 
November it was opened for public worship. 

The first minister of the church was the 
Rev. Michael Arthur, who was inducted on 
26th June, 1732. He had previously had 
considerable experience, having been over 
eighteen years in the ministry, first at 
Dumbarrow, in Forfarshire, and after- 
wards at Peebles. He was also the author 
of a number of theological works, and had 
attained the distinction of being Moderator 
of Synod. In Aberdeen Mr. Arthur was 
at first very successful. His preaching 
gifts soon made an impression and the 
membership steadily increased. The finan- 
cial position of the congregation was also 
improved. The minister was probably not 
receiving more than £40 of a stipend, and 
the precentor had not more than £2 — it 
indeed he had anything at all beyond the 
privilege of exercising his gifts in the sanc- 
tuary — and the church officer had only 
the guarantee that, if the gratuities on 
occasions of baptism did not reach ten shil- 
lings, the session would make up the de- 
ficiency. The voluntary liberality of the 
people remedied these matters in course of 
a short time. Mr. Arthur's ministerial 
success, however, eseeins latterly to have 
been interrupted. Although a good 
preacher, he was apparently crotchety, con- 
troversial, and cross-tempered. In the end 
he " fell out " with his people, and de- 
mitted his charge before the Presbytery, 
afterwards leaving the denomination and 



UNION OF ABERDEEN U.F. 
CHURCHES. 



LAST SERVICE IN RELMONT 
0Ui/c ST *ff T - /•//o/tfi, 

Tho final services in Belmont Street U-F. 
Church. Aberdeen, before the union with the 
East U.F. Church, were held yesterday. The 
Rev. Dr Hastings and tlhe Rev. Dr Beatt con- 
ducted the forenoon service, while the Rev. Dr 
Shepherd officiated in the evening. There were 
large congregations, and Communion was cele- 
brate.! at both service* 

Dr rlastiniga (Preached from the test St John 
viii., 12. 

Before, the conclusion of the forenoon service, 
Dr Boat:; «-'id they, would cherish the memories 
they had and the feelings that dwelt with them 
that day- Their fathers had come there through 
the long years, 'through one century and through 
parte of two others, and h«ci prayed there under 
the spiritual atmosphere of the place. Now they 
were scattered across the world and carried with 
ihem t'.io memories of that church. They felt 
that dav that they stood on holy grornd. The 
onisohuu; thought was that wher, they went they 
would nor leave -Jesus Christ behind- He would 
fio with them. They were not going- fa.r away. 
Next Sunday they would find themsol"-»es under 
another roof, imonig tha people with whom 
they had united. They would find: them just I 
like then selves, "while there was a warm Christ- 
ian atmosphere in the church to which they were 
going. A spiritedly-minded people they of the 
East U.F. Church were interested in what they 
of the Beilmont -Street 7 J.F. Ohuroh were in- 
terested in with regard to Christian work and 
Christian ontt.i-prioe, .and he trusted that both 
congrercihiotm would 'blend together with the 
meet friendly feeling. 

At the e*e:iinig service Dr bhepherd. i-ej erring 
to th.> un'on S'.ii:d that that was the lest Com- 
munion they would hold it! their own church, 
but tho/ had the satisfaction of knowing they 
were paeaTnig on to a fuller worship with iheir 
brothe-rs rmi sisters of the East Church, with 
whom it was a pleasure to labour. They would 
carry out from tlheir temple ail the good they 
had got there, all tho inspiration that hed come 
to their souls, exid all the enthusiasm that had 
been kindled in their h'«*ts. Jesus Christ 
v ou.ld lead th : way into wis higher and more 
precious communion They were in ieadiness 
for co-r.psr* tior with their new brotl-.ers and 
sisters in *Viq East Church, and eo to carry on 
lr a fuller and higher step the work which that 
church had 'beet*, doing vn their native city. 



BELMONT STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH 



89 



emigrating to America. The next minister 
was the Rev. William M'Call, who was or- 
dained on 8th April, 1789. Mr. M'Call 
was a faithful preacher, and a man of pru- 
dence and wisdom, and he did much to 
restore harmony in the congregation. Con- 
stitutionally delicate, the work soon over- 
taxed his strength, and, despite the earnest 
entreaties of an attached congregation, he 
decided to withdraw from the pastorate. 
He afterwards became a farmer, and in 
1805 purchased the estate of Caitloch, on 
which he resided till his death in 1835. 

Next in order of succession came the 
Rev. James Temple-ton, who left a deeper 
mark on the congregation than any of the 
former ministers, and whose memory is 
still cherished to-day. Mr. Templeton was 
ordained on 2nd September, 1801, when 
differences of opinion regarding the pro- 
priety of Sunday schools were threatening 
to rend the congregation. The outlook 
was not promising, but peace was soon re- 
stored, many new members were added, 
and numbers who had previously left were 
received back into the fold, the prosperity 
being further attested by the fact that 
about this time galleries were placed in 
the church, and a session-house erected. 
Mr. Templeton was a man of piety and 
zeal, an attractive and impressive preacher, 
with what has been termed a rich unctional 
fervour. Through his long ministry he 
maintained an honoured place among the 
evangelical preachers of the city, and gave 
Belmont Street Church a position of in- 
fluence in the community. His pastorate, 
however, while a period of increase and 
prosperity, was also one of separation and 
secession. In 1820 the union of the 
Burghers and Anti-Burghers was consum- 
mated, and, Mr. Templeton being opposed 
to it, a large minority favourable to the 
union withdrew, and formed George Street 
(now Garden Place) Church. When, after 
a time, Mr. Templeton acceded to the 
union, another party, numbering about 40, 
seceded, and formed the Original Secession 
Church in Skene Terrace. In 1833 the 
Rev. Robert Sedgewick came as colleague 
to Mr. Templeton, but the relationship of 
the two pastors was not altogether success- 
ful, and in 1836 there was another hive-off, 
Mr. Templeton and his supporters with- 
drawing and forming what is now Char- 
lotte Street congregation. With Garden 
Place, Charlotte Street, and the Original 
Secession Church as its family, Belmont 
Street Church has thus the distinction of 
being the Mother Church of three con- 
gregations in the city of Aberdeen. 



Mr. Templeton died in 1840, in the 79th 
year of his age, and it has been well said 
that, even at this date, there is pathos in 
the thought that his days were not ended 
in the church which owed so much to him. 
Belmont Street, however, can never forget 
Mi-. Templeton, and a tablet in the vesti- 
bule, erected at the instigation of Dr. 
Beatt, tells the younger generation some- 
thing of his life and work. 

Mr. Sedgewick's ministry continued until 
12th February, 1849, when he removed to 
Nova Scotia. There he attained a high 
position. He became known among his 
brethren as " the old man eloquent " ; and 
as marking the esteem in which he was 
held, he was elected Moderator of Synod, 
and received the honorary degree of D.D. 
His ministry in Belmont Street was not. 
a long one, but it filled a large place in 
his life. Writing many years afterwards 
on the occasion of its centenary, he said — 
'' I took pleasure in the stones of the old 
church, and its very dust was dear to me — 
as dear as they were to my old friend, 
Saunders Munro, who carried the Bible 
before me into the pulpit, and so reverently 
took it away after I left it." 

The next minister was the Rev. John C. 
Brown, LL.D., who was inducted on 24th 
April, 1850. Dr. Brown belonged to a dis- 
tinguished Secession family — the Browns, 
of Haddington — a family of varied gifts 
and accomplishments. Besides his 

ministry in Belmont Street, he was Lec- 
turer on Botany in the University, and was 
frequently in demand for popular lectures 
on scientific subjects — giving several very 
successful courses on Anatomy and Physio- 
logy in the Mechanics' Institute. He left 
Belmont Street on his appointment by the 
Cape Government to a Lectureship on 
Forestry, afterwards returning to this 
country, and spending his last days in his 
native town of Haddington. 

The vacancy in the pastorate after he 
left was somewhat protracted, owing to 
two or three calls issued by the congrega- 
tion being declined, but ultimately a most 
fortunate settlement was effected on 18th 
April, 1865, when the present senior 
minister, the Rev. David Beatt, D.D., was 
ordained and inducted to the charge. Dr. 
Beatt was then a young man fresh from 
college, and he found the congregation 
considerably reduced and depressed. A 
great improvement, however, was soon vis- 
ible. The young minister's pulpit gifts wore 
much above the average, Hecame from the 
city of Dundee and the church of George 
Giilillan, and it became evident that in the 



90 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



pulpit of Belmont Street Church there wa6 
a preacher with a distinct personality and 
decided power. The result was that the 
old church became overcrowded, and 
a new and larger building bad to be 
erected, which was opened in 1869, and 
which for many years was the mast hand- 
same edifice of which the United Presby- 
terian denomination could boast in the city. 
The congregation not only increased in 
numbers, but it grew in influence in the 
community, many of the foremost public 
men in the city being drawn within its 
membership. The position it gained then 
has never since been lost, for during all 
the years of his long pastorate, Dr. L'eatt 
has been able to maintain undiminished the 




Rev. Dr. David Beatt. 

high reputation of the congregation. Yet 
the burden of this important charge did 
not absorb all Dr. Beatt's energies. He 
early took an interest in public affairs, and 
for many years he has been one of the most 
prominent of all the city ministers in the 
management of philanthropic and bene- 
volent work. A man of great urbanity and 
unfailing courtesy, of rare prudence and 
tact, his ripe experience and wisdom are 
valued alike in the Church Courts and in 
public life, while he is the trusted coun- 
sellor and friend of many outside his own 
congregation as well as of all within it. 
While now a " grand old man " of the city 
ministry, he is still hale and vigorous, with 



his keen but kindly eye practically un- 
dimmed and his mental force unabated. 

On 15th October, 1903, the Rev. John 
Steele Allison, of St. Abbs, Berwickshire, 
was inducted as colleague in Belmont 
Street. Mr. Allison had a high reputa- 
tion among the residenters and visitors 
where he formerly laboured, and in Aber- 
deen, as junior minister of Belmont Street 
Church, he has had wider scope for the 
exercise of his pulpit and pastoral gifts. 

Belmont Street Church has had its 
own share — and a liberal one — of men 
who have exercised a large Christian in- 
fluence, or who have occupied positions of 
distinction at home and abroad. Within 
the memory of those yet remaining, men- 
tion may be made of Dr. Thomas Meikle, 
Crieff; Alexander Conan, William Ogilvie, 
George Smith (whose jubilee as an elder 
was celebrated by a public meeting in the 
.Music Hall), Alexander Esslemont (still 
warmly remembered as a man of rare 
elevation of character) ; John Smith, 
afterwards Professor in Sydney Uni- 
versity, and Minister of Education 
in the Government of New South 
Wales ; James Shepherd (of Messrs. 
Souter and Shepherd) ; George Jamieson, 
Lord Provost of the city : Peter Esslemont, 
another Lord Provost, and afterwards M.P. 
for East Aberdeenshire ; Archibald Gillies, 
editor successively of the "Herald" and 
" Journal," and originator of the " Even- 
ing Express" ; and William Conan, of the 
Indian Civil Service. Dr. W. A. Hunter, 
at one time M.P. for North Aberdeen, may 
also be claimed, since his family belonged 
to the congregation. It is more difficult to 
refer to the living in a congregation 
where public spirit is a tradition, but in 
the congregational Year Book, the elder- 
ship shows several names of men well 
known in the public, professional, and busi- 
ness life of the community, and it is also 
observable that these men are at the head 
of important departments of church work. 
Mr. George B. Esslemont, M.P. for 
South Aberdeen, has been connected 
with the congregation all his life, 
and for many years has served in 
the eldership, while he also discharged 
for a considerable period the duties of 
mission treasurer. During his municipal 
career Mr. Esslemont continued to take an 
active part in the work of the congregation, 
and since entering on his Parliamentary 
duties he has maintained his connection 
with it, and still holds office as an elder. 

The congregation has also sent forth 
several of its sons to important spheres in 



BELMONT STREET EXIT El) EHEE CHURCH 



91 



Ihe Church. Several are scholarly and suc- 
cessful ministers in the home church ; one 
is settled in the United States ; a few have 
become missionaries — the most outstanding 
being the Rev. Dr. James Shepherd, who 
holds so unique a position in Rajputana — 
and at present the Church has several 
students of great promise, one of whom is 
at Oxford. In the larger life of the Church 
at home and abroad, as well as in the com- 
munity, the congregation has therefore 
exercised a potent influence. 

Belmont Street Church has always given 
a large and leading place in its Christian 
service to Sabbath school and district mis- 
sion work. It was perhaps among the 
earliest to introduce a Sabbath school, for, 
as already indicated, the innovation was 
the cause of congregational dissension 
about the years 1800 and 1801. District 
schools, in addition to the congregational 
school, were supported by the members, 
and Lord Provost Jamieson, then a young 
man, had the credit of preparing, at his 
own expense, a suitable little Hymn Book 



for such schools. District mission work 
has also been a feature of the congregation 
— Shoe Lane, Mutton Brae, Upper Den- 
burn, and Gordon Street having all at 
various times been centres of its activity — 
while the operations are now directed from 
the fine mission hall erected in Lower Den- 
burn. For over 25 years the congregation 
has supported a Biblewoman, and for a 
much longer period several of the elders 
have, by rotation, conducted an evan- 
gelistic service every Sunday evening. 

Belmont Street Church has seen and par- 
ticipated in many denominational changes, 
every one of which was the outcome of 
union — from Anti-Burgher to Secession, 
from Secession to United Presbyterian, and 
from United Presbyterian to United Free. 
It may witness other and greater changes 
in the future, and it may pass into still 
larger unions ; but it is not likely to pass 
from its adherence to the old Secession 
principles on which it was founded, and to 
which it has remained loyal through all 
the changing years. 



XXV— BON=ACCORD UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Bon- Accord U.F. Church. 



This congregation was formed in 1828 by 
a number of the members of Trinity Chapel 
who were unsuccessful in carrying their 
favourite candidate for the vacancy which 
then existed in the charge. A considerable 
majority favoured Rev. David Simpson, 
who was duly elected, but the supporters 
of Rev. Gavin Parker withdrew and formed 
a new congregation. The Baptist congre- 
gation then worshipping in Union Terrace 
was not flourishing at the time, and the 
dissentients purchased the church, called 
Mr. Parker to be minister, and thus 
founded a new charge in the city. 

For several years the congregation 
laboured under great disability. Being only 
in the position of a Chapel of Ease, there 
was no kirk-session, the jurisdiction rest- 
ing with the session of Oldmachar until 



1834, when the Assembly passed the Act 
for the erection of <: quoad sacra " parishes. 
Mr. Parker worked with zeal and earnest- 
ness, and the congregation grew in num- 
bers and in influence. The death of Dr. 
Kidd in 1834 was the means of sending a 
number of families from Gilcomston to 
swell the membership of Bon- Accord, 
among them being George Bain, weaver, 
father of the late Dr. Alexander Bain. In 
1836 a moTement was inaugurated for deal- 
ing with the education of the children. A 
goodly sum of money was raised, and, on 
a site in Marywell Street, the school build- 
ings were erected, where excellent educa- 
tional work was carried on by well-known 
and highly-respected teachers until the 
passing of the Education Act in 1872, when 
the control passed into the hands of the 
School Board. 

At the Disruption of 1843 there was no 
uncertainty as to the attitude of this con- 
gregation. Mr. Parker had 6trong views 
on the subject, and the session was unani- 
mous. Dr. Henderson, one of the elders, 
was a member of the Assembly of 1843, ;.nd 
marched in the historic procession to Canon- 
nulls, where he formally announced the 
adherence of the minister, office-bearers, 
and entire membership of Bon- Accord con- 
gregation to the new Free Church of Scot- 
land. Some difficulty was experienced in 
obtaining satisfaction as to the disposal of 
the church buidings. During the month 
following the Disruption, Mr. Parker 
preached in the open air in Union Terrace 
o:i Sunday forenoons, and in the evenings 
in the Original Secession Church, Skene 
Terrace, which had been granted for the 
purpose. After various conferences and 
much delay, the managers took the matter 
into their own hands. They boldly adver- 
tised that the church would be exposed for 
sale by public roup, and when the day of 
sale arrived they found there was no pur- 
chaser, and Dr. John Campbell, one of the 
members, thereupon secured the property 
on behalf of the congregation at the upset 
price. Soon after the stirring events of 
the Disruption period, Mr. Parker's health 
began to fail, and his death took place on 
5th June, 1845. His 17 years' ministry 
was a very fruitful one. As the first 
minister of Bon- Accord Church, it was but 
j natural that he should have left a deep 



An interesting discovery has been made in 
ooure 3 of a "redd up'' o£ one of the rooms off 
the organ loft of Bom-Accord Church. A bag 
was discovered containing several hundred conv- 
I nvuniou tokens -winch had been in use in Boa- 
Acoord Free Church in bygone days. The 
tokens, which are of oblong shape, are in etcel- 
k-rat preservation, and bear on the one side an 
impression of the old Bon- Accord Church and on 
the reverse side the words " The Lord knoweth 
them that are Has." A committee of the lDea- 
cons' Court has been appointed to formulate a 
scheme whereby the tokens may be disposed 
of anions' the members of the congregation 
and their friends at the next 6ale of work. 

■»♦♦ ♦♦ *2& 7-7'i> 7 



BON-ACCORD UNITED FREE CHURCH 



03 




Old Free Bon-Accord Church, Union Terrace. 



mark on the congregation, and that even 
to-day, after the lapse of many years, his 
name should be mentioned with reverence. 
As a preacher he was earnest and faithful, 
rather than brilliant and popular. He was 
a fine specimen of the older type of 
ministers, with strong evangelical sym- 
pathies and a deep sense of the responsi- 
bility of the pulpit. 

After a vacancy extending for a year, a 
call was addressed to Rev. Samuel Giant, 
of Braco, Perthshire, and accepted by him 
after some hesitation. The only other 
name bef >re the committee was that of 
Rev. W. P. Smith, of Keig and Tough, the 
father of Professor Robertson Smith ; but 
the office-bearers were of opinion that his 
name would lead to considerable division, 
and it was never submitted to the congre- 
gation. Mr. Grant's pastorate was a short 
one, lasting for only seven years — his death 
taking place rather unexpectedly in 1853. 
He was a man of considerable parts. As an 
expository preacher he was very successful, 
and he always prepared carefully for his 
pulpit work. 

The next minister of the church was 
Rev. Charles Ross, who was ordained as a 
young probationer in 1854, and gave the 



congregation 15 years of zealous and 
effective work, until his .removal in 1869 
to the Free Church of Tobermory. Bon- 
Accord congregation had earned a certain 
reputation for conservatism, but under the 
influence of Mr. Ross, who was a younger 
nan than either o|*his two predecessors, a 
number of the old usages were gradually 
departed from. One of the most important 
developments was the introduction of n 
choir. Even in Mr. Grant'6 time such an 
innovation would never have been 
attempted, for, when a new precentor witli 
"advanced" views was appointed, all he 
could do was to persuade some of the young 
people to take and pay for sittings near 
the " lettrin." This was done in a stealthy 
way, as it was well known that any pro- 
posal to form a regular choir would have 
been at once vetoed by the kirk-session. 
The more liberal views which spread during 
Mr. Ross's ministry soon made it possible, 
not only for a choir being formed, but also 
for the necessary structural alterations 
being made to provide a choir seat. An- 
other improvement was effected in the cur- 
tailment of the very lengthy communion 
services. These had usually lasted for about 
six hours continuously from ten o'clock in 



94 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



the forenoon. The whole of the seating 
in the body of the church had to be lifted 
and carried outside, and on the space thus 
cleared there were set two communion 
tables, each extending the whole length 
of the church. At each of these tables 
two lines of communicants took their seats, 
fiicing each other, accommodation being 
thus provided for 80 or 100 at a time. On 
Mr. Ross's suggestion, the removal of the 
seating was discontinued; and this made 
it possible to accommodate all the com- 
municants at three table services, instead 
of six, which had the further result of 
shortening the services by nearly two 
hours. Another new departure was t he- 
introduction of communion cards and the 
discontinuance of the system of tokens. 
It can readily be inferred from what was 
accomplished during his ministry that Mr. 
Ross was a man of tact and business capa- 
city, who knew how to manage his session 
and deacons' court. He was likewise, 
however, a preacher with pulpit gifts above 
mediocrity. Fluent in speech, he was also 
effective in delivery, and at times could 
rise to the height of real eloquence. 

On the removal of Mr. Ross to Tober- 
mory, the congregation took what was 
considered a bold step. They addressed a 
call to Rev. Alexander Leslie, of Free 
Ladyloan Church, Arbroath; and, contrary 
to the expectations of many, it was 
accepted by him". For many years Mr. 
Leslie had been well known in Aberdeen. 
He began his ministry in the city, and at 
almost every communion he was called to 
assist. Of his popularity as a preacher 
there could be no doubt, for whenever it 
was known that he was to preach, a 
crowded church was assured. After a 
quarter of a century's work in Arbroath, 
he did not bring to Bon-Accord Church the 
freshness of youth ; but he came with an 
assured reputation. From the very day 
of his settlement the tide of prosperity 
began to flow, and the congregation, almost 
at a single bound, took its place as a large 
and influential body. At the first seat- 
letting after Mr. Leslie's induction about 
300 additional sittings were taken, and at 
the first communion there was a propor- 
tionate addition to the membership. In 
1875 an alteration and extension scheme 
was carried out, and a hall erected on the 
south side of the church. Mr. Leslie not 
only drew full congregations on Sunday, 
but at the weekly prayer meeting on Wed- 
nesday there was usually a gathering suffi- 
cient to fill the lower part of the church. 
This successful ministry was, however, soon 



to come to an end. After about eight 
years' service in the pastorate, Mr. Leslie's 
death occurred with startling suddenness 
in 1878. His loss to the congregation was 
a severe one. Ardent in temperament, his 
preaching was characterised by fervour 
and unction. With heaving chest and 
beaming eye, he dilated on the momentous 
truth he was seeking to enforce, and there 
was a pleading earnestness in his voice 
which often proved irresistible. As a man 
of deep convictions and passionate earnest- 
ness, Mr. Leslie's memory is warmly 
cherished by many in the city to-day. 

For thirteen months the members of 
Bon-Accord were as sheep without a shep- 




Rev. Hector M. Adam. B.D. 

herd, but ultimately they were led to pre- 
sent a call to Rev. Hector M. Adam, of 
Mary kirk. Mr. Adam had been only three 
years in Marykirk, but he had been a dis- 
tinguished student at Glasgow, and gave 
promise of a successful career. His father 
was a native of Aberdeen, but latterly 
headmaster of the Free Normal S< minary, 
Glasgow. Mr. Adam gained a high place 
in all hie classes, and he had the d 
of taking the first place in the exit 
examination of Qlasg n Free Church Col- 
lege in a year which included several well- 
known men. His induction to the pas- 
torate of Bon-Accord Church took place on 



BON-ACCORD UNITED FREE CHURCH 



95 






Rev. J. Bonnar Russell, B.D. 

10th June, 1879, and after his settlement 
in Aberdeen he took the degree of B.D. 
As a preacher, Mr. Adam did not affect 
t lie. arts of the orator, but he gave to bis 
people, week by week, able and thoughtfr.l 
sermons, carefully prepared, and bearing 
the stamp of scholarship and keen intel- 
lectual power. During his 25 years' resi- 
dence in Aberdeen he took a full share 
of public work, especially in connec- 
tion with religious movements in the city. 
As secretary and, latterly, chairman of the 
Aberdeen Evangelical Association — an 
inter-denominational union which has 
latterly fallen into abeyance — he had a 
great deal to do with the special missions 
of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, Major 
Whittle and Mr. M'Granahan, Rev. Hugh 
Price Hughes, Mr. George Clarke, and Rev. 
John M'Neill, and with public gatherings. 
such as the Luther and Wycliffe comme- 
morations. He was also vice-presi- 
dent of the Scottish National Christian 
Endeavour Union, and took a leading part 
in arranging for the very successful con- 
vention held in Aberdeen some years ago. 
He was twice Moderator of Presbytery 
and once Moderator of Synod, and for a 
number of years was largely engaged in 
public work as convener of the Presbytery's 
Temperance Committee. 

The most important event in Bon-Accord 
Church during Mr. Adam's ministry 
was the disposal of the old church in 



Union Terrace as a site for the School 
Board offices and the erection of the new 
suite of church buildings in llosemount 
Viaduct. The new church was opened on 
3rd September, 1896, the service being 
conducted by Rev. Principal Miller, of 
Madras, then Moderator of the General 
\ iiibly. In 1909, Mr. Adam received 
an invitation to the pastorate of the church 
at Montreux, where he had been officiating 
for several months during the winter. 
Having accepted the appointment, he re- 
signed the pastoral charge of Bon-Accord 
Church, and was formally released by the 
Presbytery. Rev. J. Bonnar Russell, B.D., 
who had been acting as "locum tenens " 
during his absence, was immediately 
elected to the vacancy, which was one of 
the shortest on record in the city. Mr. 
Russell, who had formerly had experience 
of ministerial work both in the Antipodes 
and on the Continent, was ordained to the 
pastorate in May, 1909. 

Among the prominent office-bearers con- 
nected at different times with Bon-Accord 
Church there may be mentioned Dr. Wil- 
liam Henderson, Mr. D. R. Lyall Grant of 
Kingsford, Mr. William Raitt, Mr. David 
Maver, teacher; and Dr. Henry Jackson. 
The congregation has sent a large number 
of its young men to the ministry, and the 
survivors of a goodly band include Rev. 








Mr. William Robbie. 



no 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



.1 . E. Duguid, Newmachar ; Rev. James A. 
Russell, Causewayend ; Rev. Joseph For- 
rest, Fraserburgh; Rev. J. S. Maver, 
Paisley (and formerly of Cap© Town) ; Rev. 
R. A. Lendrum, Glasgow; and Rev. John 
Lendrum, Elgin. 

In- the present day Bon-Accord Church 
is still living and vigorous. The congre- 
gation consists mainly of working people, 
with, however, a considerable proportion of 
the middle and educated classes (including 
about a dozen teachers and several 
graduates and students of the university). 
The list of office-bearers is still representa- 
tive of public interests in the community, 
including, as it does, ex-Baillie Maitland, 
Mr. James Milne, C.A. ; Mr. W. M. 
Tennant, an ex-president of the Aberdeen 
Christian Endeavour Union ; and others 
who might be named. The senior office- 
bearer is Mr. William Robbie, author of 
"Aberdeen: Its Traditions and History," 



and other works, including a small volume 
on Bon-Accord Church. Mr. Bobbie was 
ordained an elder in 18(31, and the congre- 
gation has had no more loyal supporter 
during all these years. 

Since removing to the present buildings 
the congregation has been endeavouring by 
various means to reach the great popula- 
tion close at its own doors. Several aggres- 
sive agencies have been in operation, as 
well as organisations for the young men 
and women within its own borders. In 
1908 proposals were submitted for a Union 
between the congregation and that of St. 
Paul's across the street with the view of 
starting a combined religious and social 
movement in the district. The proposal, 
however, was ultimately departed from, and 
Bon-Accord was left, for the time being at 
all events, to maintain its separate exist- 
ence and pursue its work along the old lines 
of ordinary congregational effort 



XXVI— CARDEN PLACE UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Carden Place U.F. Church. 



This congregation was intimately con- 
cerned with the beginnings of the United 
Secession Church. Not only was its first 
church the first erection of the kind in 
the united body, but the union of the two 
branches of the Secession which was then 
effected was largely the cause of its 
formation. There had been a keen 



division of opinion over the union in Bel- 
mont Street congregation, and ultimately 
Rev. James Templeton, with the majority 
of his people, decided against it. The 
minority favourable to the union, number- 
ing about 40, at once withdrew, and 
petitioned the United Presbytery at its 
first meeting for liberty to form a new 

G 



1)8 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



congregation. This was neither the first 
nor the second occasion on which dis- 
sentients from Belmont Street had ap- 
peared at the Presbytery, various differ- 
ences having already been submitted to the 
court. The petition of 1820 was, there- 
fore, kept in abeyance for a time in the 
hope that matters might again adjust 
themselves — Mr. Templeton's brethren in 
the ministry being hopeful that lie might, 
after all, resile from hie anti-union posi- 
tion. Finding him irreconcilable (al- 
though seven years later ho relented), the 
Presbytery granted the request of the 
petitioners on 21st January, 1821. 

Once the favourable decision was re- 
ceived, no time was lost in securing a place 
of meeting for the new congregation ; in 
fact, the premises had already been 
secured, and everything was in readiness 
foir proceeding whenever Presbyterial 
sanction had been obtained. The premises 
were those of Milne's Dancing Hall, on 
the west side of the Gallowgate, and 
situated at the end of Concert Court, the 
entrance to the hall — invisible from the 
street — being by an awkward 6tone stair. 
It was fitted up for use on Sunday by 
providing a quantity of very plain deal 
board forms — a supply of candles, a plate 
for the collection, a Bible, and two psalm 
books completing the furnishing. On 28th 
January, 1821 — the floor of the dancing 
hall being well sanded to prevent the wor- 
shippers slipping on the waxen boards — 
the opening services were conducted by 
Rev. James Paterson, of Midmar. In th's 
apartment, devoted to dancing assemblies 
during the week, and sacred to the 
ordinances of religion on Sundays, the 
congregation continued to meet for a time, 
hut their eyes were towards a place rf 
worship of their own. The Synod at its 
next meeting allowed them a grant of £10 
to encourage them in building a clmr/h. 
and the matter was heartily taken up. 
The situation decided on was in Tannery 
Street (now included in George Street, 
between Schoolhill and Loch Street, which 
was then regarded as likely to become one 
of the leading thoroughfares of the city, 
an expectation which has been abundantly 
realised. Directions were given that the 
church should be a fairly commodious one, 
capable of holding, with a squeeze (which 
worshippers in those days were not sup- 
posed to resent), about 750 persons. With 
the proverbial canniness of Aberdonians, 
the promoters of the congregation also 
directed that the buildings should be con- 
structed in such a manner as to be easily 



converted into shops and warehouses in 
the event of the church not prospering. 
This meant the sacrifice of any attempt 
at architectural effect, and thus it was 
that George Street church, with its plain 
exterior and its barn-like windows, had so 
little of an ecclesistical appearance. The 
opening services took place on 19th May, 
1^22, the preacher on the occasion being 
Rev. Thomas Stark, of Forres. A daring 
innovation was introduced on the 02X'iiing 
Sunday, when Peter Troup, the precentor, 
read and then sang two lines of the Psalm 
instead of one. This produced quite a 
sensation in the other churches, and the 
news of the awful declension of George 
Street was a subject for gossip and head- 
shaking for several months. 

The congregation were now settled in 
their church, but they had still to select 
a minister, and this proved, in their case, 
a rather formidable task. The extreme 
caution displayed i:i connection with the 
erection of the church was still further 
exemplified in filling the pulpit. The 
vacancy continued for 141 weeks, and 
during that time> 49 different preachers 
appeared in turn, being about an aver- 
age of throe Sundays to each. Eventually 
the matter came to a vote. Rev. James 
Stirling, a probationer from Strathaven, 
being elected, but only by a few votes 
over the other candidate, who was no less 
a personage than the famous Rev. Patrick 
Robertson of Craigdam. Mr. Stirling was 
ordained on 29th September, 1824, and he 
.served the congregation faithfully for 
forty-seven years. He was an earnest 
and practical, if not a brilliant, preacher. 
He was a man of tender heart, and in the 
pulpit his emotion frequently overcame 
him, and he would stand with the tears 
coursing down his cheeks. As a pastor 
he was extremely attentive and diligent, 
catechising the congregation regularly, 
and by his sympathetic intercourse with 
the people influencing them more forcibly 
than from the pulpit. After forty-four 
years in the pastorate, Mr. Stirling 
suffered from a severe and protracted ill- 
ness, and in 1869, when it was seen that 
his health would never again l>e fully re- 
stored, a mutual arrangement wa6 made 
between minister and congregation for the 
appointment of a colleague and successor. 
Some difficulty, however, was experienced 
in carrying the arrangement into effect. 
Three times in succession the congregation 
presented unsuccessful calls, those who re- 
jected the overtures being Rev. James S. 
Scotland, who was some time afterwards 



Death of a Famous 



New Minister for Garden 
Place U.F. Church, 



INDUCTION OF REV. A, I. PIRIE. 



Tho Riav. A. Irvine Pirie, formerly of CoW- 
stroam, was last night inducted to the pastor- 
ate of the Carden Place United Free Church, 
Aberdeen, in succession to the Rev. T. P. Ran- 
kine. now of Rosehall, Edinburgh. The Rev. 
W J. R. Calder, Kingswells, presided, and 
preached to a large congregation, while there 
was also a large attendance of members of tho 
Aberdeen U.F. Presbytery. The address to 
the minister and congregation was given by the 
Rev. F. J. Rae, Beechgrove U.F. Church. 

Reality in Religion. 

To the min.eter Mr Rae sard that they bad 
heard a good report of Mr Pine s qualities as 
a minister and a man. They would regard hia 
work with sympathy, and they would lejoiee at 
the success they confidently hoped would at- 
tend it. He congratulated Mr Pirie on enter- 
ing into that wider spnere at sucii a time. It 
was in some, respects a difficult and ciitcd r.mo, 
when men had less respect for authority than 
previously. Jrle wouiu not be rcspocwxi soiely 
because he was a minister, but chiefly because 
of the kind of minister and the kind of man 
he was. No doubt Mr Pirie would be thank- 
ful for this, for it implied an increase in reality 
in religious life, and they would be ready to 
sacrifice much for that. It was a difficult, but 
also an interesting, time. The very dirficult.es 
of their situation, the problems facing them, the 
new demands made upon them, the sense of 
living in a time of change and great issues — all 
these were most exhilarating. There was a 
hearing for their message to-day. The age had 
its difficulties, but want of interest in Christ 
I was not one of them. In closing, he counselled 
: Mr Pirie " to feed the Church of God," and "to 
! take heed of thyself." He could not do too 
much of this work for the Aberdeen people; 
i they could take the beet he could give them, 
: and it would be difficult for him 
I to find a better or more responsive audience for 
! what he had to say than rn Aberdeen. He 
also counselled the necessity for daily prayer, 
for if they neglected it for other things, they 
became perhaps powerless' and clever instead of 
earnest and spiritual. &£ 7/x//qy* 

The pronouncement of the benediction 5y 
Mr Rae broug-ht the proceedings to a close. 

Induction of Former City Minister. 

— %/E SlS7,ii_, 

The Rev. A. Irvine Pirie, B.D., late of 
Carden Place Church, Aberdeen, was on Tues- 
day inducted to the pastoral charge of King 
Street U.F. Church, Kilmarnock, in succession I 
to the Rev. A. W. Burnet, M.A., recently 
translated to Giffnock. 



SIR JAMES STIRLINc/ I 1 * 

FORMER HIGH COURT JUDGE 
AND LORD OF APPEAL. 



, i 9 , r J mo3 ' **»* mormag announces i,e 
death of Sir James Stirling, formerly a Lord 
of Appear Sir James was a eon of the Re? 
James Stirling, Gear©© Street U.P. Cnurab 
Aberdeen, where he was born in 1836. Educated 
at Aberdeen Grammar School and University 
and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was 
Senior Wrangler and First Smith's Prizeman 
he became a barrister, and was subsequently » 
Judge of the High Court and a Lord of Appeal. 
Sir Jamos passed away at his house, Finch- 
cooks, Goodhurst. Kent, in his 81st year Ho 
held tho post of Lord Justice of Appeal from 
October, 1900, to 1906 and had sat on the bench 
altogether for about 20 years. After being eaHed 
to the Bar he started as a law reporter with 
? JSJ ne 'i ° f eul *equent eminence, including 
Lord Courtney and the late Lords Herschell and 



CAR-DEN PLACE UNITED FREE CHFRC1-1 



99 



settled at Errol; Rev. .Julia Boyd, who 
made choice of Wemyss Bay; and Rev. 
Alexander M'Donald, who preferred Cum- 
nock. Further delay then occurred, and 
Mr. Stirling died before the collegiate 
pastorate was realised. He saw it only in 
prospect. His death took place on 22nd 
•June, 1871, and Rev. Archibald Young, 
M.A., was ordained, not as his colleague, 
but as his successor, on 6th September 
following. 




Rev. Archibald Young, MA. 

Mr. Young came as a probationer 
from London Road Church, Glasgow, 
and he bad declined a call from 
Middlesbrough a year before his settle- 
ment in Aberdeen. He soon became known 
as an able preacher with distinctive gifts, 
his sermons being marked by vigour of 
thought and forcefulness of style. He 

adhered to the evangelical testimony, 
but presented it in its practical rather 
than in its sentimental aspeets. The main 
feature of Mr. Young's pastorate was 
the removal of the congregation from the 
old church in George Street to the present 
handsome edifice in Carden Place. The 
movement for tlie erection of the new 
church owed its inception to Mr. George 
Walker, to whom the welfare of the con- 
gregation has for many years been among 
the supreme interests of his life. Mr. 



Walker was a man of vision, and he saw 
the possibilities, not only to the congrega- 
tion, but also to the denomination, by the 
erection of a church in the west-end, in 
the centre of a growing residential dis- 
trict, then practically unoccupied. The 
proposal was heartily received and 
cordially adopted. The old church, which 
cost £1134, was sold for £2780, and is now 
used as a drapery warehouse, extend- 
ing from 52 to 58 George Street. The 
present church cost £11,500, about ten 
times the price of the first, but the 
building is now entirely free of debt, a 
result due in no small measure to Mr. 
Walker's untiring zeal and indomitable 
perseverance and enterprise as treasurer of 
the building fund. What the old church 
lacked a.s an ecclesiastical building is 
more than made up for by the new. 
Designed by Mr. \\. G. Wilson, architect 
an elder of the congregation —it is ad- 
mittedly one of our finest specimens of 
ecclesiastical architecture, and, internally 
as well as externally, the arrangement 
and adaptation are excellent and pleasing 
in every way. It was not without good 
cause that Carden Place was regarded as 
the Cathedral Church of the United 
Presbyterian denomination in the city. 
The formal opening took place on 2nd 
April, 1882, the services being conducted 
by that prince of preachers — the late Dr. 
John Ker. The congregation made another 
forward step in the introduction of a pipe 
organ. This was a somewhat bold move 
under the circumstances, but it was boldly 
taken, and the boldness was justified by 
the remarkable unanimity with which the 
project was carried. What a transition 
from George Street to Carden Place! 

Is this the hill? is this the lark? 
Is this mine own oouirfcree? 

The congregation must have felt for a 
time amid strangely unfamiliar surround- 
ings. From the old church, with its bare 
and unattractive aspect, to the new and 
stately sanctuary, with its elegance and 
comfort, with its stained glass windows, 
and the strains of organ music, wa6 indeed 
a transformation. Yet the change was felt 
to be in the right direction, and the mem- 
bers readily adapted themselves to the 
altered circumstances, with the result that 
the home-like feeling soon reasserted it- 
self. 

The congregation has a lengthy roll of 
fame in connection with its membership. 
Perhaps the most distinguished and most 
widely-known name is that of Sir James 
Stirling, a son of the first minister, who 

G2 



100 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



afterwards became a Lord Justice of 
Appeal. Among the ministers who 

were connected in their early days 
with the church there may b© mentioned 
Rev. Adam Lind, of Elgin ; Rev. William 
Watson, of Forres; Rev. James Emslie, of 
Jamaica ; and Rev. Dr. R. A. Watson, of 
Dundee. Coming to the civic sphere, 
many names at once suggest themselves. 
In bygone days those who were associated 
with the congregation for longer or 
shorter periods included public men 6uch 
as Lord Provost Jamieson, Baillie James 
Ross, Baillie Duffus, Councillors John 
Croll, James Paterson, and Matthew Croll, 
Mr. A. S. Cook (who served the church 
with great fidelity and acceptance in 
various capacities), Mr. Thomas Craig, 
and many others. The late Baillie Booth, 
ex-Councillor Wishart, ex-Councillor Wat- 
son, and ex-Councillor Pratt are amongst 
those who have served on public boards, 
while to the still wider business and pro- 
fessional life of the city the congregation 
has given a man of the ability and high re- 
putation of Mr. R. G. Wilson. Perhaps, 
however, the most distinctive personality 
in the congregation to-day is that of ex- 
Baillie George Walker, the well-known 
author of our local classic " Aberdeen 
Awa'," whose services to the church have 
already been referred to. Mr. Walker is 
in a very real sense a link between the past 
and the present of the church. His con- 
nection with it dates from 1826, and 
through all the intervening yeare there 
lias been no more loyal and devoted mem- 
ber. Mr. Walker has filled many offices, 
notably that of session clerk, which he held 
for a long period until he felt compelled 
to retire on account of advancing age. 
His name is indelibly inscribed in the re- 
cords of the congregation. Rev. Pro- 
fessor Cairns since his appointment to 
Aberdeen U.F. College has been connected 
witli the congregation, and in 1908 
he became a member of the session. 

In 1906 Mr. Young, after thirty-five 
years of active service in the pastorate, 
applied for the appointment of a colleague 
and successor. The proposed arrange- 
ments having been ratified by the Church 
Courts, the congregation were at liberty 
to proceed to an election, and in due 
course a call was addressed to Rev. 



Thomas P. Rankine, M.A., then minister 
of Pollok Street Church, Glasgow. Mr. 
Rankine was born within the bounds of 
the Presbytery of Aberdeen, his father. 




Rev. Thcmas P. Rankine, M.A. 

the late Rev. Edward Rankine. having 
been for many years minister of the 
United Presbyterian Church at Shiels, 
Belhelvie. Graduating in Arts at Aber- 
deen University, he took his theolo- 
gical course at the Hall of the United 
Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh, and 
soon after its completion he was 
ordained a6 minister of the church at 
Waterbeck, Annan, from which he was 
transferred to Pollok Street Church, Glas- 
gow. Having accepted the hearty call of 
the Carden Place congregation, Mr. 
Rankine was inducted to the charge on 
14th December, 1906. Mr. Young having 
practically retired frdm all active duty, the 
burden of responsibility fell on the junior 
colleague, whose pulpit gifts ioon made 
an impression. From the outset of his 
ministry in Aberdeen. Mr. Rankine threw 
himself into the work with energy and en- 
thusiasm, and the congregation, loyally 
supporting him in his efforts, went for- 
ward with fresh heart and hope into a new 
era of its history. 




,. , ■ 



■ ■ ■ 



UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 
Carden Place,. Aberdeen. 



XXVII.— CAUSEWAYEND UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Causeway end U.F. Church. 

Causewayend congregation has no 
ancient history of which it can boast. As 
one of the extension charges in the city, 
its origin is of a comparatively recent date ; 
but, with no traditions to prove either a 
hindrance or a help, it lias made a good 
record of work and progress. 

The first movement towards the forma- 
tion of a Free Church congregation in the 
district was made early in 1877, the leading 
part in the negotiations being taken by 
Mr. Henderson, Devanha House, (after- 
wards Sir William Henderson). Principal 
Lumsden also interested himself in the 
proposal, and Professor (afterwards Prin- 
cipal) Salmond took from the beginning 
an active share in the work. A 

survey having been made of the dis- 
trict, a statement was prepared and 
submitted to the Church Extension Com- 
mittee of the Presbytery. After discussion 
it was resolved to appoint a sub-committee 
consisting of Dr. Salmond (convener), 
Messrs. Henderson, M'Millan, and 
M 'Hardy to deal with the matter in detail. 
There was no lack of energy and zeal on 
the part of this sub-committee, and 



although there were difficulties in the way 
— and, perhaps, indifference, if not actual 
opposition, to be faced — yet these 
were overcome by steady persever- 
ance. On 11th January, 1878, it was re- 
ported that a site in Causewayend, con- 
necting with George Street by a lane, had 
been secured on satisfactory terms. The 
immediate district which the new church 
w as understood to have as its field of opera- 
tion was the triangle with its base in 
Hutcheon Street and its apex in " Split- 
ting Wind." Twenty years ago, how- 
ever, the locality was entirely different 
from what it is to-day. The plot of 
greenery, where, among the old trees, 
young Causewayend enjoyed itself with 
" showdin' tows" and other games on 
summer evenings, was a conspicuous 
feature of that part of the city. 
Yet the population even then was 
considerable. In returns prepared for the 
Presbytery it was shown that 1209 families, 
estimated to number 5300 souls, were living 
within the municipal boundary of the dis- 
trict lying between Mounthooly and Kitty- 
brewster, besides a large number imme- 
diately outside the boundary line. 

The tsite mentioned having been ac- 
quired with the Presbytery's sanction 
and approval, the question of ways 
and means had then to be con- 
sidered. The committee were relieved 
of a heavy burden when it was inti- 
mated that one of their number had agreed 
to become responsible for the erection of 
buildings suitable for a commencement of 
operations in Causewayend. Plans were sub- 
mitted by Mr. D. M'Millan of hall, class- 
room, vestry, and other conveniences, and 
these were erected and ready for occupa- 
tion in June, 1879, the formal sanction of 
the Assembly having been secured for the 
formation of a new charge. The total cost 
of the buildings was over £1000, and it is 
no secret now that Sir William Henderson 
was the liberal member of committee who 
provided the whole of the necessary funds. 

The importance of securing a suitable 
minister for the young congregation was 
fully realised, and communications passed 
between the sub-committee and several 
likely men. There was little inducement 
to offer except a promising field for strenu- 
ous work, and several declinatures were 



102 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



received from those who had been ap- 
proached. At length, however, a unanimous 
recommedation was made in favour of Rev. 
John Rae, formerly of Lebanon, who ac- 
cepted the invitation and began hie 
ministry at Causewayend on 13th January, 
1880. Mr. Rae was a native of Udny, and 
he was educated at the Grammar School, 
University, and Free Church College of 
Aberdeen. After receiving licence, he held 
temporary appointments at various places, 
including Gamrie, where he was afterwards 
settled as pastor in 1866, having in the in- 
terval declined a call from Durris. In 1872 
he accepted the appointment of superin- 
tendent of the Lebanon Schools in Syria, 
where he laboured for seven years. His 
wife's health having broken down, lie wa.s 
compelled by medical orders to leave Syria, 
and it was on his return to this country 
that he wa6 called to Causewayend. The 
session "pro tempore'' appointed by the 
Presbytery to act together with Mr. Rae 
were — Professor Salmond, Messrs. Win. 
Henderson, David Mliardy, A. 1). Milne, 
and Major John Ross. In March, 1881, the 
congregation were asked to elect office- 
bearers from their own ranks, with the 
result that on 3rd April Messrs. William 
Harrowes and Robert Meldrum were or- 
dained elders, and Messrs. John Strachau, 
John Webster, Alexander Anderson, and 
William Wilson deacons. Mr. Rae at the 
time of his settlement appeared to be in 
perfect physical vigour, but before the year 
closed his health threatened to give way, 
and he had to obtain leave of absence, Pro- 
fessor Salmond being appointed interim 
moderator. Returning to his work, he had 
the satisfaction of seeing the congregation 
steadily, if not rapidly, increasing. In 
October, 1881, the roll contained 61 names ; 
and in October, 1882, the number had risen 
to 79, and in March, 1883, it was certified 
that there were 104 persons in full com- 
munion. Yet as the numbers rose the 
minister's strength seemed to be gradually 
failing, and in the early part of 1881 he 
had again to seek leave of absence. The 
story of Mr. Rae's weary journey — first to 
Mentone and then to Syria — in search of 
health which was never more to be his is 
a sad chapter in the history of Causeway- 
end. His people followed his movements 
and the course of his illness with anxious 
solicitude, and at times his recovery seemed 
probable. Yet he was never to return, for 
his death took place on 11th December, 
1885. Mr. Rae was a man of sound counsel 
and sympathetic spirit, and he had literary 
gifts of no mean order. By his own people 



he was held in kindly esteem for his earnest 
solicitude for their highest interests. 

The prolonged absence of the minister 
at so early and critical a stage in the his- 
tory of the congregation occasioned no 
little anxiety to those who had the wel- 
fare of Causewayend Church at heart, but 
everything possible was done to save the 
situation. Very fortunate appointment., 
were made of young ministers to fill the 
position of assistant and carry on the 
general work of the charge. Rev. J. Iron- 
side Still acted in this capacity until he 
was called to Banchory-Devenick, and he 
was succeeded by Rev. A. E. Spence, who 
continued tne work until his settlement at 
Iosch. Under these able and promising 
preachers the membership continued to in- 
crease, notwithstanding the minister's ab- 
sence —an evidence both of the accepta- 
bility of the pulpit supply and of the loyalty 
of the people. 

The church, which had been built during 
Mr. line's ministry, was opened on 19th 
November, 1882, the preachers on the oc- 
casion being Rev. Dr. Adam, of Glasgow, 
and Rev. Andrew Doak, of Trinity Church. 
Aberdeen. 

The vacancy caused by the death of the 
first minister was, happily, of short dura- 
tion. Dr. Salmond, to whom Causewayend 
owed so much in its early days, wa.s 
moderator, and under his guiding baud the 
committee soon came forward with a un- 
animous recommendation in favour of Rev. 
James A. Russell, M.A., of Xewhilks Free 
Church. Mi - . Russell, although born in 
Edinburgh, was educated in Aberdeen, 
passing through the Grammar School, 
University, and Free Church College. 
Towards the close of his divinity course he 
went as occasional evening supply to New- 
hills, and he made so good an impression 
that shortly after being licensed he re- 
ceived a call to be colleague and successor 
to Rev. John Craven in the pastorate of 
the church. During his six and a half 
years' ministry in Bucksburn the member- 
ship had risen from about 300 to over 500, 
and it was felt that he was the man to 
work up the cause at Causewayend. Having 
received a call signed by 153 members out 
of a total roll of 172. Mr. Russell intimated 
his acceptance, and his induction to the 
charge took place on 30th March, 1886. 

The intervening years have been full 
of vigorous and persistent effort, but it has 
not been a case of sowing without reaping. 
Tli© progress made has been remarkable 
ill its way. In 1886 the membership 
was 172; in 1908 it stood at 823. An 



Congratulations to Mr Hugh Skinner on com- 
I pleting 25 years ae editor of the " Monthly 
] Paper " of the Causewayend U.F. Chauroh. 
This is surely a record in work of this kind. 
' Mr Skinner "has devoted himself -with fine 
I nihility and success to the work of the editor- 
! ship, and his eervices in this connection haw 
' not been the least valuable of th© many he haa 
rendered to the congregation. After five- 
; and-twenty years his hand has not lost its cun- 
ning. His reminisoeurt, article in the ciurrent 
i^iue touches on many interesting phases in the 
j historj of Caueewayend during the jj-ast-quar 

I ter of a. oenttuy, and on its steady a«d remark- 
able development under the ministry of the 
Rev. Ja-mes A. BusseJl. /ZZ >&- 

♦ *♦♦♦ 7-i-'9n 



CAUSEWAY END UNITED FREE CHURCH 



103 




Rev. James A. Russell, M.A. 

enlargement of the church was rendered 
necessary some years ago, and the whole 
of the buildings have been repaired and 
improved. By various means, including 
the inevitable bazaar and the familiar sales 
of work, considerable sums of money have 
been raised, and the church buildings are 
now free of debt. In its various enterprises 
the congregation has been led by a staff of 
office-bearers who have shown a keen and 
practical interest in its affairs. The senior 



elder to-day is Mr. Robert Meldrum, super- 
intendent of the Association for Teaching 
the Blind at their Homes, who has been 
associated with the church from the begin- 
ning of its history. Mr. Hugh Skinner is 
session clerk, and Mr. Henry Webster 
deacons' court clerk. The congregation 
has always had a flourishing Sunday School 
from the time when Mr. Thomas Hector 
was installed as the first superintendent. 
To-day there are two schools — congrega- 
tional and mission — the former being under 
the superintendence of Mr. Isaac Benzie, 
and the latter of Mr. Alex. Youngson. The 
minister's Bible Class, with attendances of 
about 250, the Boys' Brigade, and the Band 
of Hope are other agencies accomplishing 
good work. A very helpful organisation 
is the Visitation Band, which is reaching 
the people of the district and exerting an 
influence in various ways. 

Causewayend is almost entirely a work- 
ing class congregation, and while large in 
point of numbers, it cannot be said that 
its material resources are proportionately 
great. There is scope for a missionary — 
whether clerical or lay, male or female — 
in addition to the minister, but the main- 
tenance of an additional agent would be 
a serious burden on the funds. It would, 
perhaps, be inaccurate to say that the con- 
gregation has now reached the limits of 
its growth, but it must be apparent that 
its efforts in the future will have to be 
directed to consolidation rather than to 
extension. With a membership gathered 
together so rapidly and drawn from so 
many sources there must be much to do 
in giving it solidity and stability ; yet, this 
part of the work will not be the least im- 
portant or useful for the good of the church 
and the welfare of the community. 



XXVIII.- CHARLOTTE STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Charlotte Street U.F. Church. 



This congregation was originally an off- 
shoot from Belmont Street Church. Three 
times in succession during the ministry of 
Rev. James Templeton there was a hiving 
off from Belmont Street — the first forming 
George Street (now Carden Place) Church, 
the second combining with another party 
to form Skene Terrace Original Secession 
Church, and the third forming Charlotte 
Street Church. The first two secessions 
were due to Mr. Templeton's position on 
the question of union in the Secession 
Church — the founders of George Street 
congregation withdrawing because he de- 
clined to approve of the union ; while thof-e 
who joined hands with the Original 
Seceders left him at a later date, when he 
changed his mind and came to seek admis- 
sion to the United Church. The origin of 
the Charlotte Street congregation, on the 
other hand, was due to internal difficulties 
in Belmont Street Church and personal 
differences between Mr. Templeton and 
his colleague. 

The primary cause of the dissension 
between the two ministers was an acute 
difference of opinion on a theological ques- 
tion which had been raised in the Presby- 
tery in connection with the trials for licence 
of three students — one of whom was after- 



wards well known as Rev. Henry A. Pater- 
son, of Stonehouse. Mr. Templeton took 
the leading part in criticising the essays 
or the three students as being inconsistent 
with the teaching of the Church and tend- 
ing towards Morisonianism ; but his junior 
colleague, Rev. Robert Sedgewick, along 
with Rev. Henry Angus, took up a position 
of defence on behalf of the young men. The 
result was that from the pulpit of Belmont 
Street Church Mr. Templeton used very 
plain language regarding what he termed 
the heresy of Mr. Sedgewick, and he prac- 
tically declined to continue any longer in 
a collegiate charge with one holding such 
views. Such a state of matters inevitably 
brought on a crisis, and in course of time 
the congregation appealed to the Presby- 
tery to attempt mediation between the two 
ministers, and the Presbytery asked the 
assistance of the Synod. Eventually the 
Presbytery, on 7th July, 1840, with the 
assistance of the Synod assessors, arranged 
what was considered a very fail - basis of 
agreement as to the relations of the two 
colleagues and the division of the work 
between them. Mr. Templeton. however, 
absolutely declined to accept the terms, 
and in a short time he came forward to the 
Presbytery with a petition to be separated 
from his colleague and to be granted per- 
mission to open a place of worship of hi* 
own. The requests were refused, but Mr. 
Templeton and his sympathisers were not 
defeated. They met first in the open air, 
and afterwards in a hall, and the matter 
soon came up again at the Presbytery in 
another form. A petition was presented 
on 11th August, 1840, from certain elders 
and members of Belmont Street Church 
asking to be erected into a new congrega- 
tion under the charge of their old 
minister. By this time Mr. Templeton was 
seriously ill. and apparently beyond all 
hope of recovery, and the Presbytery, 
under the circumstances, granted the peti- 
tioners temporary supply of sermon. On 
the evening of the same day Mr. Temple- 
ton's death occurred, the peculiarly sad 
circumstances calling forth many expres- 
sions of sympathy. When the Presbytery 
met a week later it was reported that the 
Belmont Street session had no objections to 
the sanctioning of the new congregation, 
provided no claim was made on the pro- 
perty. Satisfied on all necessary points. 



CHARLOTTE STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH 



105 



the Presbytery, therefore, gave its formal 
approval, and thus there was originated 
what was known at first as the Fourth 
Secession congregation in Aberdeen. 

The first minister of the congregation 
was one whose name was known far and 
wide, and whose memory has been per- 
petuated in the north — Rev. Patrick 
Robertson, of Craigdam, who was inducted 
cm 30th June, 1841. It is a curious coin- 
cidence that a considerable section of the 
former party of seceders from Belmont 
Street in 1820 should also have set their 
hearts on Mr. Robertson. He was duly 
proposed as the first minister of George 
Street Church, and there was every ap- 
pearance that he would be chosen, but 
when the day of election came he was 
defeated by Mr. Stirling by a very few 
votes. In this case, however, there was 
evident unanimity. It was, perhaps, a 
bold stroke to call as first minister of a new 
congregation a man of 65, and it was 
equally bold for a man of so advanced age 
to undertake such a task. Yet Mr. Robert- 
son resolved to risk the experiment, and 
the congregation were to all intents de- 
lighted at his decision, and full of hope for 
the future. That they expected great 
things may be infei-red from the fact that 
they undertook the erection of a large 
church in Charlotte Street capable of ac- 
commodating 1000 worshippers. The enter- 
prise was scarcely justified by the results, 
for, in the early part of 1814, the congre- 
gation, finding itself in financial difficulties, 
applied to the Presbytery for assistance 
and advice. The response was not what 
Mr. Robertson expected, and he decided 
to sever his connection with the denomina- 
tion — a certain number of the members 
having signified their intention of follow- 
ing him into the Free Church. In Novem- 
ber, 1844, his career as a minister of the 
United Secession Church was ended, and 
at the Free Chmch Assembly in May, 1845, 
his application for admission was granted 
on the condition that he was not to have 
a stated charge in Aberdeen. In the fol- 
lowing year he became minister of the Free 
Church at Culsalmond, where he laboured 
for ten years, afterwards retiring to Aber- 
deen, where he died on 26th July, 1867, 
in his 91st year. Mr. Robertson was a man 
of exceptional parts. His style as a 
preacher was quite distinctive, although Hie 
real power may have been somewhat over- 
shadowed in the public estimation by his 
reputation as one who uttered striking 
and memorable sayings in the broadest 
Doric of the district. Yet his remarks 



were often characterised by a directness of 
application and an aptness of illustration 
which it would have been difficult to excel, 
and if he could make the people laugh at 
his sayings, he could also make a deep im- 
pression by his wonderful power of natural 
oratory. The name and fame of Patrick 
Robertson will be cherished for many a 
day in Aberdeen and the north, although 
they may belong more directly to his first 
charge at Craigdam than to the Charlotte 
Street Church, of which he was the first 
minister. 

The members of Charlotte Street Church 
who took sides with Mr. Robertson had at 
first the idea in their minds that they 
might be recognised as a congregation of 
the Free Church. Their hopes in that 
direction, however, were shattered by the 
declinature of the Free Church Assembly 
to look with favour on their overtures, and 
they were thereafter dispersed. There 
remained loyal to the Secession Church a 
congregation numbering from 80 to 100 
members, including four elders, and these 
set themselves as soon as possible to secure 
a minister. A call signed by 80 mem- 
bers and 47 adherents was addressed to 
Rev. John B. Ritchie, who accepted the 
invitation and was ordained as minister of 
the church on 3rd December, 1845. Mr. 
Ritchie was a son of Rev. Dr. Ritchie, of 
Potterow, Edinburgh, and previous to his 
settlement in Aberdeen he had declined a 
call to Union Church, Broughty-Ferry. He 
was a man of considerable ability as a 
preacher, and several of his sermons found 
their way into print. Three discourses on 
"The Armour of the Christian Church," 
published in 1851, were highly spoken of at 
the time, and his sermon preached at the 
centenary of Craigdam Church was re- 
printed m the memorial volume. Mr. 
Ritchie's ministry at Charlotte Street was 
fruitful in various ways. He was largely 
instrumental in securing the extinction of 
a debt of £570, in addition to carrying out 
several improvements on the property, and 
in other respects he left his mark. For 21 
years he continued in the pastorate of the 
church, but latterly his health gave way, 
and on 0th February, 1866, he tabled his 
demission of the charge, and his resigna- 
tion was formally accepted by the Presby- 
tery with expressions of regret and with 
warm acknowledgements of his work. Mr. 
Ritchie removed to Portobello to spend his 
years of retirement, but later on he found 
a home in Edinburgh. 

Charlotte Street Church now entered on 
a period of anxiety and suspense. For a 



100 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



time every overture seemed to be rejected, 
and the vacancy continued for two yeare. 
A call was first addressed to Rev. W. T. 
Henderson, but he preferred to go to Mill- 
port, which also sought his services. Then 
the eyes of the congregation turned once 
more to Craigdam, and Rev. William 
Turner was invited to come to Charlotte 
Street as Mr. Robertson had done 25 years 
before. A third call was prepared, and 
Rev. William Gellatly, of Peterhead, was 
asked to undertake the pastorate, but in 
this case also, notwithstanding the induce- 
ments of a city charge, a refusal was re- 
reived. On the fourth occasion better suc- 
cess was met with. Rev. James Cordiner, 
a probationer of the Church, was invited 
to the vacant pastorate, and although 
Shapinshay Church. Orkney, was also in 
competition, the decision in this instance 
was in favour of Charlotte Street. Mr. 
Cordiner was ordained on 5th February, 
1868, and there seemed opening out before 
him a ministry of singular usefulness and 
ability. In a few months' time all the 
bright prospects were rudely shattered. 
Mr. Cordiner was stricken with consump- 
tion, and, the trouble having quickly deve- 
loped, he died on 13th September— seven 
months and eight days after his ordination. 
His death at so early an age — he was only 
31 — and under circumstances so tragic 
made a deep impression not only on the 
congregation, but throughout the com- 
munity at large. 

The next minister of Charlotte Street 
was Rev. Matthew Galbraith, M.A., who 
was ordained on 13th April, 1869, and who 
held the charge for a longer period, and 
probably did more for the church than any 
of his predecessors. Mr. Galbraith was a 
distinguished student of Edinburgh l T ni- 
versity, and when he completed his theolo- 
gical course at the IT. P. Hall he had the 
offer of three vacancies — Moffat, Paisley, 
and Charlotte Street, Aberdeen. Prefer- 
ring the last, not as the most influential 
sphere, but as one calling for the greatest 
energy and activity, he entered on the 
work with enthusiasm and vigour. There 
was a ready response to his efforts. The 
membership of the congregation, which he 
found at 1J7, speedily increased, and 
within ten years of his settlement Charlotte 
Street was the largest of the sis T T .P. 
Churches in Aberdeen, with a roll of 600— 
a position it maintained for many yeare 
thereafter. Mr. Galbraith also led the 
congregation in the large enterprise of 
erecting a suite of halls at a cost of £1000, 
the entire sum necessary being raised in a 



short time ; and it may be mentioned that 
in the matter of hall accommodation Char- 
lotte Street was far in advance of its sister 
churches in the city. Mr. Galbraith's in- 
fluence told in other directions, and one 
notable feature is found in the fact that 
so many young men went forth from his 
ministry to pulpits of their own. Amongst 
those brought up in Charlotte Street 
Church under Mr. Galbraith there may 
be mentioned the names of Rev. William 
C. Dickson. Muckart . Rev. Andrew Laing, 
Kirkmichael ; Rev. James W. Robbie, Pun- 
dee : Rev. William Forbes, Cairneyblll, 
Dunfermline; Rev. A. B. Connon, Park- 
head, Glasgow ; Rev. William Meston, Yell. 
Shetland ; and Rev. Alexander Christie. 
Notwithstanding inducements to leave — at 
one meeting of Presbytery two calls were 
presented to Mr. Galbraith, from Victoria 
Street Church, Dundee, and Gillespie 




Rev. James W. Jackson. 

Church, Glasgow — he remained staunch in 
his attachment to Charlotte Street, and 
gave it freely of his strength. Unhappily, 
the last days of his ministry were under a 
cloud. Having admitted an error of judg- 
ment, he intimated his resignation to the 
Presbytery on 8th July, 1903, and it was 
accepted by them with expressions of 
brotherly regard and cordial acknowledg- 
ment of the faithfulness and zeal of his 34 
years' work. There was a tragic sequel. 
Within a week Mr. Galbraith was seized 
with serious illness, and in a fortnight from 



CHARLOTTE STREET UNITED EEEE CHURCH 



1U7 



the date of his resignation he succumbed. 
His death occurred on 23rd July, 1903, and 
the tidings caused quite a shock in the 
city. Mr. Galbraith was widely known in 
Aberdeen. His fine presence was a familiar 
figure in the streets, and by his affable 
manner and genuine warm-heartedness he 
made troops of friends. Fond of music, he 
was himself a musician of no mean ability, 
and his clear, high-pitched tenor voice 
was familiar in many a great religious 
gathering. Mr. Galbraith's preaching was 
warmly evangelical, and in all evangelistic 
and temperance movements he took a pro- 
minent part. He will be remembered as 
a man of bright and attractive disposition, 
open-hearted and open-handed, kindly 
and affectionate, and full of tender 
sympathy . 

After a season of stress and strain, the 
congregation of Charlotte Street addressed 
a call to Rev. James W. Jackson, of Lyon 
Street Church, Glasgow, who accepted the 
invitation, and was inducted to the charge 
on 27th November, 1903. Mr. Jackson began 
his ministry at Cromdale, where he was 
ordained in 1894, and after some years of 
work in Strathspey he removed to Glasgow 
to undertake the arduous and exacting pas- 



torate of Lyon Street Church. Experienced 
in ministerial duties both in the country 
and in a congested city district, he came to 
Charlotte Street fully equipped, and it was 
well that he did so. Through various 
causes there had been a considerable loss 
both in numbers and vitality, and the task 
facing the new minister was not altogether 
an easy one. A marked improvement was 
soon apparent. Mr. Jackson laboured with 
energy and vigour, and the results were 
encouraging in every dejaartment. By 
means of his popular Sunday evening ser- 
mons he increased the attendances at 
church, and he gained hold of the young 
men and women by his successful Bible 
Class. 

With new heart and life the congregation 
began to think of building a new church. 
Ultimately an extensive reconstruction 
scheme was adopted, for the erection 
of a new front to John Street, and a 
complete renewal and rearrangement of 
the interior. Although the old walls stand 
on the old site, the congregation has prac- 
tically a new place of worship, and in the 
matter of accommodation it is more for- 
tunately situated than many mid-city 
churches. 



XXIX— EAST UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




East U.F. Church. 



There was no uncertainty as to the 
course of events in the East Parish when 
the Disruption of 1843 occurred. That the 
majority of the congregation would go out 
and join the Free Church was a foregone 
conclusion. Almost a century previously 
there had been an off-shoot as the result 
of the ministry of Rev. John Bisset, which 
had gone to the formation of the first 
Secession Church in Aberdeen, and a 
strong evangelical party had all along 
made its influence felt in the congregation. 
At the time of the Disruption, Mr. Bisset's 
place was filled by a man whose sympathies 
were equally pronounced, and whose in- 
fluence was also dominant — Rev. (after- 
wards Dr.) James Foote. There was no 
question as to Dr. Foote's personal posi- 
tion regarding the " Ten Years' Conflict," 
and no doubt as to his large following in 
the congregation. When he declared his 
adherence to the Free Church of Scotland 
and turned his back on the Establish- 
ment, he found a large and influential 
body of people, consisting of some o*f the 
leading families in the city and county, 



ready to support him, even although it 
implied the severance of ties which bound 
them to their own Parish Church. Among 
them was Captain Dingwall Fordyce, 
father of the first Liberal M.P. for East 
Aberdeenshire. 

It is worthy of note, however, that 
opinion had been maturing in the East 
Parish for some time prior to the Dis- 
ruption, and that the feeling of the con- 
gregation had been tested before the de- 
cisive day itself had come. As early as 
October, 1842, inquiries had been in- 
stituted in order to discover " what propor- 
tion of the male heads of families were in- 
tending to adhere to the evangelical and 
reforming principles, especially those of 
non-intrusion and spiritual independ- 
ence"; and it was found that the great 
majority were resolved to stand by these 
principles. Then, on the evening of 11th 
January, 1843, a meeting of the East 
Church congregation was held to consider 
what steps should be taken in consequence 
of the proceedings at the Convocation in 
Edinburgh, where it had been decided to 
quit the State and form a Free Church in 
the event of failing to find redress. Dr. 
Foote, who had been present at the Con 
vocation, spoke in favour of the decision, 
and indicated his own resolve. At the 
close of the meeting a motion approving 
of the resolutions of the Convocation and 
affirming adherence to Dr. Foote'6 ministry 
was unanimously adopted, and the de- 
claration was speedily signed by a majority 
of the congregation. At a further meet- 
ing held on 13th March, the Church De- 
fence Association was transmuted into 
" the East Church Association in support 
of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scot- 
land,'' and 22 male members were ap- 
pointed to act along with the adhering 
elders in taking such steps as circum 
stances might require for the promotion 
and extension of such a Church. About 
50 members of the East Church put dowu 
their names at once for £735 of donations 
and £226 of annual subscriptions. Another 
instance of their preparedness for the Dis- 
ruption may be given. Dr. Foote's fol- 
lowers took the precaution to engage 
beforehand a temporary meeting-place, 
arrangements being made for the use of 
the Secession Church in John Street (now 



LIFE OF PROFESSOR FLINT.— 

This great biograpny by Dr iDonald Macmillan, 
contains much that is of interest to Aberdonians. 
Il is now known that the father and mother of 
Professor Font attended Gilcomston Free Church, 
li was then in Huntly Street. The minister 
at that time was the well-known Dr Mae- 
Gil vray. 



KEEPING THE SESSION RIGHT.— 

A good story is that Professor, then Mr Flint, 
en one occasion exchanged pulpits with Dr Mac- 
G:;vray, doubtless to please the father. For 
thifl Mr Flint was "taken over the coals." The 
then chief elder in the East, Church objected to 
innovation of a Free Kirk Minister preach- 
ing in the East Parish Church, and called a 
meeting there and then. All the eldere had met 
on St Mary's Chapel when Dr Flint arrived. 

~ho following conversation, notable for its 
brevity, took place :^r t ' 'Good evening, gentlemen. 
What is the reason of this meeting?" "We wish 
peak to you about your having a dissenter 
in your pulpit last Sabbath." "Oh, is that it? 
Good evening." And away went Mr Flint 

■w ithout constituting the session, and leaving 
them (Dr Maomillan says) "better acquainted 
alike with their minister and his legal rights.'!^ 

HIS STUDENT DAYS.— 

Same of the Praf&ssor's fellow-students at 
Glasgow University were Viscount Bruce, Prin- 
cipal Lang, Sir James Cameron Lees, Dr Browu, 
of Paisley, and Rev G. S. Mee. The latter be- 
< arne the well-known minister of John Street 
Baptist Church, and of whom much is bold in that 
interesting book "James Macdonell, Journalist," 
-Sir W. Robertson Nicoll. Mr Mee drew 
large audiences while a minister in Aberdeen, 
but afterwards left the ministry and became 
editor of a Bradford newspaper. A son of Mr 
Mee is now a journalist in Cardiff. 

When a student in Glasgow Professor Flint 
attended St George's Established Church in 
Buchanan Street, the minister at that time be- 
ing Dr Craik, father of the better known Sir 
Henry Craik, M.P. fo» the Universities of Glas- i 
and Aberdeen. 

Mr Flint's favourite walk when in Aberdeen 
was like that of his nredecessor at St Andrew's — 
the great Dr Chalmers — along the Beach. The 
F. nt family during their stay in Aberdeen re- 
eirVd in Affleck Place. Do you know -where 
Affleck Place is? /=: .- , i 

_J_- y^fc j*/,/, f 



W&are indebted for the insertion of the following, which 
appeared in the Evening Express of Saturday, the 28th ulto. , to 
" Ecclesiasticus " (Mr. A. Gammie) : — The Editor of the East 
United Free Church "Cover," Aberdeen, writes—" At the Dis- 
ruption, the Free East Church had 17 elders. An effort is being 
made to place the portraits of these in the session room of 
that church, and up to writing, twelve of the 17 portraits 
have been obtained, or promised. May I solicit the courtesy 
of your columns for the purpose of obtaining, if possible, 
portraits of the following? — (1) Mr. Alexander Smith; (2) 
Mr. Arthur Dingwall-Fordyce of Culsh, who succeeded his 
grandfather as an Advocate in Aberdeen ; (3) the Rev. Dr. 
Alexander Black, Professor of Divinity in Marischal College. 
Dr. Black's father was a market gardener, and held a piece of 
land in King Street before that street was feued ; (4) Mr. 
Alexander Machray, teacher of the East Parish Congregational 
School in St. Paul Street, and who latterly had charge of the 
House of Refuge in Skene Scpiare ; (5) Mr. William Beat tie, 
who had a painter's shop at the top of the Shiprow. Mr. 
Beattie's father was a well-known marine painter. 

"It was through a former notice of some of these portraits 
in this column that we were enabled to secure a portrait of 
Mr. John Ross, Commissary of Ordnance, and a Waterloo 
veteran, who was a Disruption elder in the Free East. I shall 
be glad if the same happy result follows the insertion of these 
paragraphs, viz., the securing of the remaining five portraits, 
which would complete a somewhat unique collection. If any 
of your numerous readers can put me in the way of obtaining 
these I shall feel greatly obliged." If any can help in this 
matter, I shall be glad to pass on their eommunicatioirkto the 
proper quarter. 



IK hi till- 



EAST UNITED FREE CHURCH 



109 



Charlotte Street Church), of whieli Rev. 
Patrick Roberteon was then minister. 

Dr. Foote preached for the last time in 
the East Parish Church on 14th May, 1843, 
and then left for the Assembly, where he 
took part in the memorable Disruption 
scenes. On the following Sunday he was 
.still in Edinburgh, but, in his absence, 
the Free Church sympathisers in the East 
Parish " moved off at once in great 
strength " to the John Street Church, 
where Rev. Dr. Black, Professor of 
Divinity in Marischal College, and a mem- 
ber of the congregation, conducted the 
service. The first meeting of the session 
of the Free East Church was held on 10th 
.Juno, 1843, in the session-house of John 
Street Secession Church, the original 
elders being — Messrs. James Leding- 
ham, Alexander Martin, William Rettie, 
jeweller; William Henderson, William 
Beattie, John Ross, Arthur Dingwall 
Fordyce, and Alexander Smith. (Mr. 
William Henderson, it may be noted, did 
a great deal of gratuitous work for the 
Church a.s an architect at this time, being 
responsible, it is said, for the plans of about 
one hundred churches and manses in the 
north of Scotland in the two years immedi- 
ately succeeding the Disruption.) The first 
session clerk was Mr. Machray, who acted 
for some time as teacher of the Free East 
School, and was subsequently superin- 
tendent of the House of Refuge. No 
notice of this congregation would be com- 
plete without a reference to the excellent 
Day School carried on in St. Andrew- 
Street (on the 6ite of the old "Burking 
House," which, in 1831, was burned down 
about the Anatomy Lecturer's ears). The 
school enjoyed great prosperity, first under 
Mr. Machray, then under Mr. Massie ; but 
most of all under Mr. James Stevenson, 
a fine specimen of the Scottish " dominie." 
Among Mr.' Stevenson's pupils may be 
numbered Mr. William Jenkyns, of the In- 
dian Civil Service, who was murdered along 
with Sir Louis Cavagnari at Kabul ; Dr. 
Laws, of Livingstonia ; Mr. W. M. Gilbert, 
chief reporter of the "Scotsman," and 
many others. Mr. Donald Reid, the 
first precentor, was a man of high re- 
putation in musical circles, having held 
with much distinction the office of leader 
of psalmody in Oldmachar Cathedral, the 
North Parish Church and the East 
Parish Church. He was an enthusiastic 
supporter of the Free Church party, and 
it is worthy of note that when the de- 
claration was submitted, pledging mem- 
bers of the East Church to adhere to the 



resolutions of the Convocation, he un- 
hesitatingly put down his name without 
any stipulation as to salary in the event 
of the Disruption, then expected, taking 
place. " Donald," as he was familiarly 
called, led the singing in the Methodist 
Chapel of Inverness, of which town he 
was a native, when only a boy of fifteen, 
and he also led the praise at the first 
meeting of the Free Church Assembly at 
Inverness — a circumstance of which he was 
ever after very proud. 

While the services were continued in 
John Street Church, rapid progress was 
being made with the building of the 
joint edifice at the corner of Belmont 
Street and Schoolhill for the East, West, 
and South Churches. Dr. Francis Edmond 
had early secured this admirable site, and 
an interesting "story" is told in con- 
nection with its purchase. As Dr. Edmond 
was coming out from purchasing the site, 
he met Mr. Alexander Webster, advocate 
—the father of the lnte Dr. John Web- 
ster, M.P. — going in to secure it. 
Mr. "Webster was well known to be op- 
posed to the Free Church, but he had to 
acknowledge that Dr. Edmond had fore- 
stalled him in this instance. The joint 
edifice erected was acknowledged to be a 
triumph of the architectural skill of Aber- 
deen's gifted citizen, Mr. Archibald Simp- 
son. In addition to the sightliness 1 of the 
structure, there were two points worthy of 
special mention — the moderate cost and 
the rapidity of erection. The site, build- 
ing, and furnishing of the three churches 
cost only slightly over £6000, and they 
were ready for occupation in about seven 
months. The triple church building was 
vested in nine trustees — three for each con- 
gregation — the representatives of the East 
being Mr. John Mitchell, builder; Mr. 
(afterwards Baillie) William Henderson, 
and Mr. Alexander Gibb of Willowbank. 
Mr. Gibb was the father of Mr. Easton 
Gibb, the well-known contractor, and of 
Professor Gibb, of W'estminster College at 
Cambridge. The East Church was the 
first of the three to be ready for use, the 
opening services taking place on Sunday, 
31st December, 1843. Dr. Foote preached 
in the forenoon and evening, and Professor 
Black in the afternoon; the collections for 
the day amounting to £173 10s 4|d. This 
was considered very handsome, especially 
as the congregation had made a collection 
of upwards of £116 about six months pre- 
viously in their temporary place of wor- 
ship. 

The work of the congregation now pro- 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Deeded along the ordinary lines. Dr. 
Foote worked with zeal and earnestness, 
and kept the large membership in close 
touch with the church. Yet, even at the 
Disruption be was no longer a young man, 
and he was a hie to serve the Free East 
congregation only for six years unaided. 
In 1849 he received a colleague and suc- 
cessor in the person of Rev. J. Calder Mac- 
phail, who was ordained to the charge on 
1st November, 1849, and who proved in 
every way a loyal son in the Gospel to 
the aged minister. Dr. Foote held the 
position of senior pastor until his death, 
at the age of 75, on 25th June, 1856. He 
left his mark deep in the history of the 
Free P]ast. Dr. "William Alexander, who 
was an attached member of the church, 
in speaking of Dr. Foote in 1893, said that 
■' His memory is still justly dear not only 
to older members, who can recall his 
bright, cheery face. and. prompt, sym- 
pathetic manner, hut to a good many of 
the younger people, who know him only 
through the tradition, duly impressed 
upon their minds by their seniors, of his 
character as an assiduous and earnest 
teacher and a pastor whose diligence and 
punctuality could not have been excelled." 
Dr. Foote was an excellent musician. He 
played the violin and a chamber organ 
which he had in his house in Golden 
Square. Dr. Foote's brother, the late Dr 
A. L. R. Foote, of Brechin, and the author 
of '' Life in a Risen Saviour," was also 
well known as a musician. Dr. Foote must 
ever have a prominent place among the 
Disruption worthies of Aberdeen. 

A fine portrait of Dr. Foote, painted 
about 1840, by Mr. Thomas Duncan, 
R.S.A., adorns the Upper Hall of the 
church ; while in the Vestibule a beautiful 
tablet commemorates his long and faithful 
ministry in the following terms: — 

Iii Memory of 

James Foote, D.D. . 

During Forty-Seven Years 

A Labourer in the Lord's Vineyard, 

First as Minister of 

The Parish of Logic Pert, 

And subsequently of the East Parish 

And of the Free East Church, 

In this City. 

His Congregation Eroded this Monument 
in Token of Their Gratitude for his Ministra- 
tions. Eminently blessed of the Lord, And of 
their Veneration and love For a Pastor whoso 
memory is Entwined with their holiest and 
Warmest Affections. 

Born 31 August, 1781. 
Died 25 June. 1356. 



Dr. Calder Macphail, who was Dr. Foote's 

< aln ague from 1849 to 1856, and who 
thereafter held the sole pastorate until his 
removal to I'ilrig Church, Edinburgh, in 
L868, was a man of ability and forci of 
character. I lis pulpit work was of a very 
high quality. An excellent Biblical 
scholar himself, he strove to infuse into 
his people his own love of the Scriptures, 
and his expositions were able and, at the 
same time, strongly evangelical and prac- 
tical. As specimens of workmanship, his 
sermons would have stood well in any 
comparison. Dr. Macphail interested him- 
self largely in practical work outside his 
own congregation, and, while lm influence 
was felt in various directions, it is mainly 
with his work on behalf of the Highland 
students that his name is still associated. 
The extent and value of his labours in 
that connection were known all over the 
Church. It was largely through his in- 
strumentality that the bursaries — named 
the Macphail bursaries in recognition of 
his work — were made available, and it 
would be difficult to over-estimate the 
benefits which have accrued to deserving 
students from the Highlands, or the gain 
to the Church at large, but more particu- 
larly in remote northern parts. The Gael-'e 
congregation in Aberdeen found in Dr. 
Macphail a steadfast friend and helper, 
who was ready at all times to forward its 
interests; and many an evangelical cause 
in the city shared in his sympathies and 
personal assistance. Another feature of 
Dr. Macphail's work was his influence over 
young men — an influence which was of the 
highest kind, and profoundly affected the 
vi hole course of their after-life. Several of 
Or. Macphail's sons have attained emin- 
ence. His oldest son is a well-known Edin- 
burgh advocate, and a younger son is a 
professor in the Madras Christian College. 
Dr. Macphail's translation to Edinburgh 
took place in December. 1868, and the pas- 
torate of the East Church was vacant for 
abou.t nine months. A happy settlement 
was reached on 9th September. 18G9, when 
Rev. James B. Candlish, a s fam- 

ous Disruption leader, was inducted to the 
charge. Mr. Candlish had not the power- 
ful eloquence of his father, but he proved 
an able and thoughtful preacher, and his 
pulpit ministrations were highly valued 
by the most competent critics. T'nfortun- 
ately, his ministry in Aberdeen was a very 
short one, lasting less than three years. 
He had scarcely time to make his influence 
adequately felt m the city, when he was 
called bv the voice of the Church to a 



EAST I NIT ED FREE CHURCH 



111 




Professor Candlish. 



sphere of importance elsewhere. Mr. 

Candlish's reputation as a theologian had 
become so favourably known throughout 
the denomination that the General 
Assembly of 1872 appointed him to the 
Divinity Chair in the Glasgow College, a 
post which he held to the close of his life. 
His professorship was a happy and success- 
ful one. and by means of his consecrated 
scholarship and fine personality he influ- 
enced many generations of students. 

About a year elapsed before the congre- 
gation found a minister to succeed Pro- 
fessor Candlishj the induction of Rev. 
James Selkirk taking place on 12th June, 
1873. Mr. Selkirk had been ordained in 
1861, and he came to Aberdeen with 12 
years' experience of practical work. He 
was, perhaps, not equal to some of his pre- 
decessors in pulpit power, but he was 
inferior to none in his earnest solicitude 
for the highest interests of the congrega- 
tion and in his zeal in pastoral work. 



Never one of the strongest of men, he 
found the work imposed a severe strain, 
and, as his eyesight was also failing, he 
deemed it necessary in 1888 to ask for the 
appointment of a colleague and successor 
who would assume the full charge of the 
congregation. Mr. Selkirk removed to 
Edinburgh on his retirement from active 
work, and his death took place there m 
February, 1901. He was a kindly and 
sympathetic pastor, and there are many 
in the East Church who still cherish the 
memory of his ministrations in times of 
trouble. 

The congregation did a bold thing when 
they came to select their next minister. 
They fixed on a young student who had 
then barely completed his theological 
course, and, in calling one so inexperienced 
to the sole responsibility of so important a 
charge, they showed remarkable audacity. 
Their audacity was, however, amply justi- 
fied by the subsequent course of events, 



112 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



for the man of their choice was Rev. G. H. 
C. Macgregor, M.A., whose name after- 
wards became so well known not only in 
Aberdeen, bnt throughout the kingdom, 
and even in America. The circumstances 
connected with Mr. Macgregor's call to the 
church were rather interesting. Rev. 
John M'Neill had mentioned his name to 
Mr. James Murray Garden as that of a 
most promising young preacher, and the 
result was that, through Mr. M'Neill, an 
invitation was sent to Mr. Macgregor to 
give a Sunday's supply. In entire ignor- 




Principal Lumsden. 

aonce of the vacancy, Mr. Macgregor came 

to Aberdeen, preaching twice, and address- 
ing a crowded Bible Class meeting, and all 
with so great acceptance that in a week's 
time it was unanimously resolved to offer 
him a call. Almost at the same time, he 
was offered a call to Burntisland to suc- 
ceed Rev. T. B. Kilpatrick, who had then 
been translated to Ferryhill, Aberdeen, 
but he preferred the East Church, and he 
was formally ordained to the charge on 
28th June, 1888. Then began a memor- 
able ministry, many fruits of which re- 
main until to-day. 

The state of matters at the date of Mr. 
Macgregor's settlement have been fully 
and fairly described in his biography. 



•' The East Church,'' says the biographer, 
" seemed by the year 1888 to have passed 
its meridian. In Aberdeen, as in other 
large cities, there was a steady exodu6 of 
the wealthier people towards the suburbs. 
New churches in the west and north-west 
districts were attracting many families 
formerly connected with the city congre- 
gations. Dr. George Adam Smith was at 
the height of his influence and popularity 
in Queen's Cross, and Mr. Kilpatrick had 
just come to Ferryhill. Other pulpits were 
not less ably filled. It was in the nature 
of things that the town churches must 
suffer. The membership of the East 
Church had been slowly declining for 
several years, and, loyal and steadfast as 
office-bearers and people were, it could 
hardly have been imagined by the most 
sanguine that an era of great expansion 
and progress was before them. It was not 
long, however, before the ebbing tide was 
checked, and a new flood tide began. 
Figures, though a poor indication of 
spiritual results, have an undeniable tale 
of their own to tell. The membership of 
the congregation when Mr. Macgregor was 
ordained was little more than 500. At the 
close of his first winter'6 work it amounted 
t-> 626. By March, 1890, this had risen to 
776, and this again rose to 901 in March, 
1891. The capacity of the building would 
not allow the increase to go on at this 
phenomenal rate, but progress still con- 
tinued steadily and surely, till, in 1894, 
when Mr. Macgregor left to go to London. 
the roll of membership contained 1037 
names." Mr. Macgregor's was from first 
to last an evangelistic ministry. Gifted 
with a fluency of speech, a ringing voice, 
and a happy fervour of delivery, he im- 
pressed both old and young, but it was 
the young people who specially felt his 
attractiveness, and it was from their ranks 
he gathered by far the largest number. 
He adhered to the simple but intensely- 
earnest proclamation of familiar Gospel 
truth, yet his preaching was immensely 
popular, and he drew crowded congrega- 
tions Sunday after Sunday. Mr. Mac- 
gregor's fame spread, and invitations to 
undertake special services came to him 
from many parts of the country. His 
association with the Keswick movement, 
which so profoundly affected his preach- 
ing and teaching, especially during the 
latter part of his Aberdeen ministry, 
also entailed much work outside his 
own congregation and the city of 
Aberdeen. Churches in various parts 
of Scotland wished to know whether 



EAST UNITED FREE CHJUU'U 



118 



he would "consider" ;i call, and he also 
had overtures from London and Melbourne 
at an early stage of his pastorate in Aber- 
deen. His mission tour in Canada in 1893 
brought two pressing invitations- one from 
St. James's Square Presbyterian Church, 
Toronto, and another to be minister of 
a church in Chicago, and manager of 
the Institute founded by Mr. Moody. All 
these were declined ; but in May, 1894, Mr. 
Macgregor accepted a call to Trinity 
Presbyterian Church, Notting Hill, Lon- 
don, and his formal connection with the 
Blast Church and the Presbytery of Aber- 
deen then came to an end. His departure 
was a .source of great regret, not only to 
the large and flourishing congregation he 




Rev. G. H. C. Macgregor, M.A. 

had gathered around him, but to many 
workers in all the churches, who lamented 
the withdrawal of so earnest and inspiring 
a force from the religious life of the city. 
Mr. Macgregor's friends in Aberdeen fol- 
lowed with the deepest interest his work 
at Notting Hill and his growing influence, 
not only in London, but throughout the 
country at large ; and the tidings of his 
premature death in May, 1900, at the age 
of 36 came as a sad shock. It was follow- 
ing out an expressed wish of his own that 
his remains were conveyed from London 
to Aberdeen and interred in Allenvale 
Cemetery, and he thus found a last resting- 
place in the city where he began his work. 
On Mr. Macgregor's removal to London, 
the congregation of the East Church pre- 



sented a call to Rev. Charles H. Todd, 
M.A., then minister of Maxwclltown 
Church, Dumfries, who accepted the in- 
vitation, and was settled in Aberdeen on 
12th February, 1895. Mr. Todd had been 
a student of the New College, Edinburgh, 
and, on the completion of his course, he 
had acted for some time as assistant to 
Dr. Stalker, who was then minister of St. 
Brycedale Church, Kirkcaldy. His first 
charge was that of Ratho and Kirknewton, 
a country church in the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, where he was ordained in 1886. 
After four years, he was translated to 
Maxwelltown, from which, as already 
stated, he was called to the East Church 
in 1895. Mr. Todd had to face both an in- 
spiring and a difficult task when he came 
to Aberdeen. He found a very large con- 
gregation, with a warm spiritual life and 
manifold Christian activities. Yet it was 
a congregation which had been to a large 
extent gathered by the contagious zeal 
and earnest personality of Mr. Macgregor, 
and therein lay the difficulty. The con- 
gregation thus attracted had to be re- 
tained, and, while there was practically no 
room for development, there was abundant 
scope for consolidation. In this Mr. Todd 
has been highly successful. Notwithstand- 
ing the special circumstances of the East 
Church when he was settled over it, and 
the westward tendency, which has been 
more severely felt every year, he has been 
able to maintain the congregation at a high 
point in numbers, and has developed in 
various ways its congregational life. An 
earnest preacher, with strong evangelical 
sympathies, and an indefatigable worker, 
Mr. Todd has gained the warm attachment 
of his own people and the esteem of his 
fellow-ministers in the city. 

While the East Church has been for- 
tunate in its ministers, it has been parti- 
cularly so in its office-bearers and leading 
men. The noble succession has never 
failed. To mention all who are worthy of 
notice is impossible ; the names of a few of 
the most prominent must suffice. Peter 
Bayne, who was associated with Hugh 
Miller on the "Witness," attended the 
Free East when a student in Aberdeen. 
Principal Lumsden and Professor Robert- 
son Smith were both elders. In Mr. Sel- 
kirk's time, Dr. Robertson Smith occasion- 
ally occupied the pulpit, but he was never 
very willing to do so; but his father, Dr. 
W. Pirie Smith, of Keig, preached fre- 
quently, and very often gave one of the 
•'table" addresses at Communion times. 
Sir William Robertson Nicoll attended the 
church during Dr. Candlish's ministry, and 
was an active member of the Literary So- 



114 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Rev Charles H. Totld, M.A 



ciety, at which lie read papers on " Char- 
lotte Bronte," " Hugh Miller," etc. Prin- 
cipal Miller, of Madras, who was a cousin 
of Dr. Macphail, and who frequently 
preached in the East Church during 
his kinsman's ministry, was in some 
measure associated with the church in hits 
student days, and he preached his first 
sermon from its pulpit. Then there 
were prominent citizens who held 
office in the congregation, such as Dr. 
William Alexander, to whose genius wo 
owe the classic "Johnny Gibb of Gushet- 
neuk " ; Mr. James Garden, and his son. 
Mr. James Murray Garden, advocate, an 
outstanding man of affairs ; Mr. William 
Rose and Mr. James Rose of Hazel head ; 
Mr. William Little John, manager of the 
Town and County Bank, and father of 
Dr. David Littlejohn, sheriff clerk : Mr. 
Gray C. Fraser, advocate, and his brother, 
Mr. John Fraser, Town and County Bank 
(their father was one of the earliest 
elders) ; Mr. Archibald Courage, bookseller, 
author of "Courage's Brief Survey of 
Aberdeen " ; and Mr. William Smith, tea 
merchant — a remarkable man, with his 
strong mysticism and his ardent love of 



music, who is faithfully portrayed by Dr. 
Walter C. Smith in "Raban." Refer- 
ence has already been made to Donald 
Reid. the precentor, but the list would 
not be complete without mention of 
"Joseph" (Mr. Joseph Lawrence), who so 
faithfully served the congregation as beadle 
for over 40 years, the father of one of the 
present elders of the congregation. Mr. C 
3J. Lawrence, Aberdeen School of Short- 
hand. 

In the course of its history, the congre- 
i has expended considerable sums on 
the extension and improvement of the 
church. In Mr. Macgregor's time the 
adjoining South Church was purchased, 
and, at a cost of nearly £5000, remodelled 
into a splendid suite of halls and class- 
rooms. During Mr. Todd's pastorate, the 
buildings have been still further improved 
at a considerable outlay, and a handsome 
pipe organ — the gift of Mr. Thomas Ogilvie 
of Kepplestone, an attached office-bearer 
of many years' standing — has also been 
installed. As might be expected of a con- 
gregation so faithfully nurtured in evan- 
gelical truth, the East Church has been 
conspicuous for its zeal in home mission 



EAST UNITED FREE CHURCH 



115 



work. A number of members who broke 
off from Giloomston in Dr. Macgilvray's 

time were the means of transferring the 
Denburn Mission to tlie East Church, 
which has since then expended much effort 
ou the district. For several years, student 
missionaries were placed in charge of the 
Denburn meetings, but latterly a lay agent, 
Mr. Robert Duncan, has acted as superin- 
tendent, and an important forward move- 
ment has taken place. The extent 
and variety of the work have been very 
great, and, as it is full of possibilities, 
the congregation have wisely determined 
to pursue an enlightened and progressive 
policy, which will undoubtedly react favour- 
ably on the church itself, while exercising 
a beneficent influence on the Denburn dis- 
trict. While the East Church received its 
home mission as a legacy from Giloomston, 
it should be stated, on the other hand, that 
it gave of the best of its office-bearers to 
help in another mission, which has since 



developed into a flourishing and vigorous 
congregation. This was the Northfield 
Mission, which was largely worked at one 
time by office-bearers from the East 
Church, who ultimately helped in the 
founding of the congregation of Ruther- 
ford. On the death of the Rev. John 
Thomson, the congregation also took by the 
hand Greyfriars Free Church, which at 
that time required the fostering care of a 
stronger congregation, but which after- 
wards, on the induction of the Rev. Hugh 
Fitzpatrick (now of Keith), soon entered 
on a new era of prosperity. 

The evangelical traditions of the East 
Church are worthily maintained to-day 
both in the pulpit and in the pew, and the 
devotion of the minister, together with the 
loyalty of the people, would seem to have 
solved in large measure the difficulty, 
always experienced, but not always satis- 
factorily overcome, of maintaining the size 
and efficiency of a mid-city congregation. 




Mr. Donald Reid, Precentor. 



H3 



XXX.— FERRYHILL UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Ferryhill U.F. Church. 

The proposal to form a Church Extension 
charge in the Ferryhill district first came 
before the Aberdeen Free Presbytery in 
May, 1872. A meeting of those interested 
in the movement was held in the Free 
Church College in November of the same 
year, and, after a conference with the 
Presbytery, it was resolved with unanimity 
and enthusiasm to take the necessary steps 
for the erection of a church and the forma- 
tion of a congregation. Two prominent 
citizens and leading Churchmen — Principal 
Lumsden, of the Free Church College, and 
Mr. ^afterwards Sir) William Henderson, 
Devanha House — were in a special manner 
identified with the inception of the move- 
ment. 

In the selection of a site for the proposed 
church, the promoters of the new cause 
were particularly fortunate. Largely 
through the instrumentality of Mr. Duncan 
M'Millan, architect (whose services to the 
church began with its formation, and have 
been continued without interruption to the 
present time), a feu was secured in a corner 
of what was then known as Roy's 
Nurseries. Rev. Dr. Duff, the great Indian 
missionary, who conducted the opening ser- 



vices in the church, described it as being 
like Mount Zion of old, "beautiful for 
situation." In the intervening years the 
surrounding district has undergone a 
marked change with the extension of the 
city in all directions. The church, how- 
ever, stands in the very centre of the 
populous and growing suburb. All the 
streets in Ferryhill may be said to lead 
to the United Free Church. Its command- 
ing position also gives it a special pro- 
minence, and its graceful spire is one of 
the landmarks of the southern district of 
the city. 

Mr. M'Millan was chosen as architect, 
and, the plans having been approved, build- 
ing operations were begun in May, 1873. 
In about a year the work was completed, 
and the church was opened for public wor- 
ship on Sunday, 28th June, 1874, Rev. Dr. 
Duff preaching in the forenoon, Rev. James 
Iverach in the afternoon, and Rev. Prin- 
cipal Lumsden in the evening. While the 
erection of the church was proceeding, the 
promoters of the movement had been on 
the outlook for a suitable minister for the 
new charge, and their attention had been 
directed to Rev. James Iverach, M.A.. 
then at West Calder. Overtures were made 
to Mr. Iverach, which he accepted, and in 
1^74 lie was translated to Aberdeen for the 
purpose of raising the new congregation at 
Ferryhill. The interim kirk-session of the 
new congregation consisted of Principal 
Lumsden (moderator). Messrs. William 
Henderson. Devanha House: James Bryce. 
advocate ; Jame6 Abernethy, engineer ; 
James Buyers, shipowner : James Morrison, 
baker ; Robert Hall, Inland Revenue 
Officer: and Duncan M'Millan, architect. 
Several of these elders belonged to other 
congregations, and retained their connec- 
tion with Ferryhill only until the church 
was firmly established, but others became 
permanently attached to it, and rendered 
active and valuable service for many years. 
Mr. M'Millan is the only survivor of the 
original kirk-session. 

Mr. Iverach as the first minister of the 
congregation had no light task. He began 
with a membership of 77. and not only ha 1 
the pews to be filled, but the congregation 
as it grJhered had to be organised in 
Christian activity. From the outset the 
work was attended with success — a success 
which has since been maintained at Ferrv- 



FERRYHILL UNITED FREE CHURCH 



117 



hill under its successive ministers. As a 
preacher Mr. Iverach soon made his mark 
in the city. He came to be known as a 
man of exceptional gifts — a theologian and 
thinker of originality and power. While 
devoting himself to his studies, he was 
also diligent in the work of his pastorate, 
and the new cause prospered under his 
charge. The membership steadily in- 
creased, until, in 1887, it had reached 
about 400. By this time Mr. Iverach had 
become widely known as a writer. His 
volume "Is God Knowable?" had attracted 




Principal Iverach. 

great attention, and by his contributions 
to the "Spectator" and other journals 
his fame and influence had been steadily 
growing. It had become evident by the 
trend of his thought and work that lie 
would almost inevitably be called to a pro- 
fessor's chair, and there was no surprise 
when in 1887 he was elected to fill such a 
position in the Aberdeen Free Church 
College. There was regret at Ferryhill at 
the prospect of losing its minister, but the 
regret was tempered by the fact that it was 
not to lose him altogether. He only 
stepped from the pulpit to the pew, and 
during its subsequent history and its suc- 
cessive pastorates, Ferryhill lias had no 



more loyal member and elder than Dr. 
Iverach. As first minister of the congrega- 
tion his work for 13 years was of the 
utmost importance and value. He had the 
foundations to lay, and he laid them well. 
Ferryhill has earned the reputation of be- 
ing to some extent a keenly intellectual 
congregation, and there can be no doubt 
that its first minister helped largely to 
stamp it with this characteristic. Dr. 
Iverach's further promotion in 1905 to the 
Principalship of the Aberdeen College was 
another evidence of his high repu- 
tation throughout the Church. As a 
citizen, Principal Iverach is also justly held 
in high esteem. He has within recent 
years made various additions to his list of 
published works, and he is recognised on 
all hands as one of the most acute and 
learned students of religion and philosophy, 
not only in his own denomination, but in 
any of the Scottish Churches. 

In the choice of its second minister, 
Ferryhill was again extremely fortunate. 
A call was addressed to Rev. T. B. Kil- 
patrick, B.D., of Burntisland, who accepted 
the invitation, and was settled in Aberdeen 
in 1888. Mr. Kilpatrick was even then 
recognised as one of the rising men of the 
Church, and high expectations were formed 
of his work at Ferryhill. These expecta- 
tions were more than realised. From the 
outset he showed himself to be a man of 
fine gifts and graces. Along with a clear 
and strong intellect, he possessed a gift of 
fluent and inspiring speech, and a fervour 
of delivery which made a most impressive 
combination. In evangelical work he was 
deeply interested, and he always struck a 
lofty note and maintained a high ideal. 
Mr Kilpatrick made the Ferryhill pulpit a 
centre of influence in the city, especially to 
young men, who were attracted by his in- 
spiring ministry. Like his predecessor, he 
was a close student and a diligent writer, 
and his reputation soon spread beyond the 
bounds of Aberdeen. His volume on 
"Christian Character: A Study in New 
Testament Morality ' ' brought his name 
into prominence, and he had many 
nominations for a professor's chair in the 
Free Church. In 1899 he was offered a 
professorship in the Manitoba College, 
Winnipeg, and to the regret of his con- 
gregation he accepted the offer. During 
his eleven years' ministry at Ferryhill the 
congregation was doubled, and the 
activities of the congregation were greatly 
developed. Dr. Kilpatrick's departure was 
regretted not only by those who had been 
privileged to enjoy his ministrations, but 



118 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



also by many throughout the denomination 
at large, who had hoped to see his gifts 
retained for the benefit of the Church at 
home. Yet there can be no doubt that in 
Canada he has found his true field. In 
Winnipeg he exerted a remarkable in- 
fluence, which was felt throughout the 
whole of North-West Canada, and in Knox 
College, Toronto, to which he was trans- 
lated in 1905, he is proving a great 
strength not only to the professorial staff, 
but in the general community. Professor 
Kilpatrick has assumed by virtue of his 
intellectual power and his moral and 




Professor Kilpatrick. 

spiritual fervour the position of a leader in 
the Canadian Church, and he has gained 
in an exceptional degree the esteem and 
confidence of the entire religious com- 
munity of the Dominion. 

In seeking for a successor to the two 
ministers who had given distinction to the 
Ferryhill pulpit, the congregation had a 
somewhat difficult undertaking. There 
were traditions to maintain, and the 
selection of a new minister under these cir- 
cumstances assumed more than usual im- 
portance. In course of time, however, 
attention was directed to Rev. R. Brucf 
Taylor, M.A., of Loudon, who was 
unanimously called to fill the vacancy. 



Mr. Bruce Taylor wa6 a native of Card- 
ross, and he was educated at Kelvinside 
Academy and Sherborne. Entering Glas- 
gow University as a bursar in 1887, he 
graduated M.A. in 1890 — thereafter study- 
ing law from 1890-93, and carrying off the 
first prize in Political Economy. His 
divinity course was taken in the Glasgow 
Free Church College, where he was first 
bursar. In 1893 he gained the Freelancl 
Scholarship in Hebrew, which carried with 
it the assistantship to Professor George 
Adam Smith, and at the close of his course 
in 1895 he won the Thomson Fellowship 
a.s the most distinguished student of the 
year over the whole Church. Mr. Taylor 
acted as Lecturer in Political Economy in 
Glasgow Athenaeum in 1894, and he also 
lectured on Political Economy under the 
University Extension at Ayr in 1895, and 
at Glasgow in 1897-98 and 1898-99. He 
was examiner in Political Economy in Glas- 
gow University from 1901 to 1904, and he 
held the same post in the University of 
Aberdeen. Mr. Taylor spent a session in 
Germany in 1899, studying at Marburg 
University, and again in 1895 at Gottingen, 
and he also studied in Syria in 1892 and 
1895. Returning to this country, he was 
called to the pastorate of the church at 
Loudon, Ayrshire, where he was ordained 
in August, 1896. His ministry in that 
country village was marked by efficiency 
and success. He soon became known to all 
the people in the district, taking a keen 
interest in everything that affected them, 
and gaining in a conspicuous degree their 
esteem and personal friendship. As a 
preacher he was steadily developing his 
gifts, and city congregations began to turn 
their eyes towards him when vacancies 
occurred. Ferryhill congregation, which 
had given both its ministers to professor- 
ships, began to think that n Mr. Bruce 
Taylor they would find one worthy to fill 
the pulpit these men had occupied. Pro- 
minent men in the Church endorsed and 
emphasised this view, and eventually Mr. 
Bruce Taylor was unanimously called to 
the pastorate of Ferrylrll Church. Hav- 
ing accepted the call, he was inducted to 
the charge in January. 1900, and was 
formally introduced to the congregation by 
Professor George Aciam Smith. 

Ferryhill Church under Mr. Bruce Taylor 
continued its record of progress. The 
membership steadily increased, until it was 
considerably over 800 : the Christian 
activity of the members was still further 
developed and organised, and in every re- 
spect there was much prosperity. Mr. 
Bruce Taylors reputation as a preacher 



FERRYHILL UNITED FREE CHURCH 



119 



greatly increased after he came to 
Aberdeen, the ability and power of his 
pulpit work growing every year. He was 
not only an able but also an attractive 
preacher. Mis bright and interesting 
style, his direct and fearless teaching, and 
his buoyant personality gave him a dis- 
tinctive position in the local ministry. He 
won an unquestioned place among the 
popular preachers of the city, and to a 
wider circle he came to be recognised as 
one of the rising men in the United Free 
Church. Mr. Bruce Taylor's interest and 
sympathies were not confined to one groove. 




Rev R. Bruce Taylor, MA. 

He was ready to take his share in the 
public life of the community, and as a 
platform speaker he stood in the front 
rank. His ready humour, his racy and 
pungent language, his easy unconven- 
tionality, and his stirring delivery made 
him a favourite with any audience. By his 
contributions to periodical literature and 
otherwise, Mr. Bruce Taylor became widely 
known not only as a specialist on 
Economics, but also as a Hebrew and Old 
Testament scholar of marked distinction, 
and his name came to be frequently men- 
tioned both for professorships and im- 
portant pastorates in this country and in 
the Colonies. He had the refusal of a 



Canadian professorship, and he declined 
overtures from vacancies both in Scotland 
and England, but the Ferryhill congrega- 
tion began to realise that sooner or later 
they would have to part with him. This 
was the case in 1906 when a call was ad- 
dressed to Mr. Bruce Taylor to become 
colleague to Dr. Monro Gibson in the 
pastorate of St. John's Wood Presbyterian 
Church, London. Accepting the invitation, 
he entered on his work in the Metropolis, 
and since then he has been adding to his 
laurels, notably by his edition of the Old 
Testament and Apocrypha, under the title 
of "Ancient Hebrew Literature," in the 
" Everyman's Library " series published by 
Messrs. J. M. Dent and Co. 

The vacancy at Ferryhill was filled in 
June, 1907, by the induction of Rev. John 
W. Coutts, M.A., of Coldstream. Mr. 
Coutts was a student of Owens College, 
Manchester, and of Glasgow Free Church 
College, and he had a highly successful 
academic career. For some time he was 
assistant to Dr. Ross Taylor in Kelvinside, 
Glasgow, and was afterwards ordained at 
Coldstream in 1901, where he laboured with 
much acceptance until called to Ferry- 
hill. 

The original cost of Ferryhill Church, in- 
cluding the site, was £5500, but it has 
twice been found necessary to increase the 
accommodation. At first, when the 
membership had outgrown the seating 
capacity, the end gallery was extended, 
and then a few years ago side galleries 
were added, giving accommodation al- 
together for about 850. Although the 
church had not been originally intended to 
have these galleries, they have been very 
effectively introduced without detracting 
in any way from the harmony of the in- 
terior. The original plan of the building 
provided for an apse behind the pulpit. 
This may be taken as an evidence of the 
foresight of the promoters, for although 
organs were then regarded as impossible, 
Ferryhill now has one very suitably placed 
in the apse designed so many years ago. 
Among other improvements are the porch, 
which was the gift of Sir William Hender- 
son, the clock and bell in the church 6pire, 
and the extended and now commodious 
suite of halls. 

Ferryhill Church has several prosperous 
congregational agencies, including a large 
and vigorously conducted Sunday School, 
Christian Endeavour Society, and 
minister's Bible Class. In Home Mission 
work the congregation has for long taken 
an active and helpful part. Many years 



120 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



ago a hall was secured in Wellington Road, 
and there for a considerable time many 
departments of Home Mission enterprise 
were carried on by earnest workers. It 
is interesting to note that the first company 
of the Boys' Brigade in Aberdeen was 
formed in connection with the Wellington 
Road Mission of Ferryhill Church, under 
Mr. John Moir. Another mission was 




Rev. John W. Coutts, M.A. 

started in Bloomfield Road, where an effort 
was made to reach the people of the "dis- 
trict by means of cottage services, mothers' 
meetings, and similar agencies. The hall 
in Wellington Road, however, was unfor- 
tunately destroyed by fire, and it was found 
impossible to continue the mission in the 
same quarter. For a time part of the work 
was transferred to Ferryhill Public School, 
and eventually the congregation purchased 
from Holburn Free Church the Mission 
Hall in Holburn Street. The Wellington 
Road and Bloomfield Missions were then 
united in the Holburn Street Hall, al- 
though the Wellington Road Sunday- 
School has been continued as a separate 
organisation, and still meets in Ferryhill 
Public School. 

The Holburn Street Mission is the centre 
of much earnest and effective work. The 
agencies include a Sunday School, Band oi 
Hope, mothers' meeting, young women's 
sewing class, and a Sunday evening 



evangelistic service. A Bible woman is 
employed to visit the district, and keep 
the mission in touch with the homes of the 
people, and there is a good staff of 
voluntary workers. Another form of 
Christian activity undertaken by members 
of the church has been the carrying on of 
services in the prison at Craiginches on 
Sunday afternoons. 

In the course of its history, Ferryhill 
Church owed much to Sir William Hender- 
son, to whose services as one of the original 
promoters of the cause reference has al- 
ready been made. Sir William remained to 
the end of his life a loyal member and an 
enthusiastic office-bearer and worker. He 
gave liberally of his means to the funds of 
the congregation, and laboured with per- 
sistent devotion in connection with many 
of its agencies. As a Bible Class teacher 
for many years, he exerted a beneficent in- 
fluence, and he watched with exemplary 
care over his district as an elder. The 
interests of Ferryhill Church lay very close 
to his heart, and his name will ever be 
associated with the history of the congrega- 
tion as one of its founders ami greatest 
benefactors. Another outstanding name is 
that of the Rev. Professor Robertson, 
D.D., of the Free Church College. Pro- 
fessor Robertson allied himself with the 
congregation on his settlement in Aber- 
deen, and he served it in various capacities. 
Accepting a call to the eldership, he dis- 
charged the duties of that office with the 
thoroughness characteristic of all his work. 
For a period of years he also acted as 
superintendent of the congregational Sun- 
day School, and furthered its efficiency in 
many ways. It is a further proof of his 
desire to help the work of the church that . 
when some difficulty was experienced in 
finding a superintendent for the Mission 
School, he was ready to step into the 
breach, notwithstanding the heavy de- 
mands of his official position at the time as 
chairman of the Aberdeen School Board. 
Although he was then one of the most 
outstanding public men in Aberdeen, he 
seemed to find pleasure in the work of 
directing a Mission Sunday School. Al- 
together, his influence and service were of 
the greatest value to the congregation. 

Ferryhill Church has sent a number of 
its sons and daughters into the ministry 
and the mission field. The late Rev. James 
Henderson, M.A., formerly of Insch and 
Constantinople, and afterwards of Glas- 
gow (a son of Sir William Henderson') ; Rev. 
Charles C. Cowie, of Rothes; Rev. R. S. 
MaeLauchlan, M.A., Panbride ; and Rev. 



EERRYHILL UNITED FREE CHURCH 



121 



Alexander Duncan, M.A., of Dufftown, 
have represented it in the ministry at 
home. To the Foreign Mission field it has 
given .Rev. Dr. W. A. Elnislie, of Living- 
stonia ; Dr. Agnes Henderson, of Nagpur 
(a daughter of Sir William Henderson) ; 
Rev. W. G. Robertson, of Bombay (now 
Principal of Gnjurat College) ; Mrs. Thom- 
son Macmillan, of Tanna ; Mr. Stewart 
and Dr. Brown, of Livingstonia. 



The congregation has always had its 
distinguishing features. In its early days 
it was progressive beyond its neighbours. 
It was one of the first in the city to adopt 
evening services, and one of the first to 
use the Hymn Book in public worship. 
Never did the congregation more fully 
justify than it is doing to-day the reputa- 
tion it has always borne as one of the most 
successful suburban charges in the city. 



XXXI.— GALLOWGATE UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Gallowgate U.F. Church. 

The Gallowgate is one of the most 
ancient, as it is also one of the most 
famous, streets in Aberdeen. Amid all 
the changes of the centuries it has stood 
a veritable landmark in the city. In 
former times it was associated with the 
punishment of crime on the gallows, and 
it would appear that in these latter days 
it is to be prominently associated with 
great institutions and movements for the 
prevention of crime and the ushering in 
of better social and religious conditions for 
the masses of the people. 

The congregation of Gallowgate United 
Free Church is one of the results of an 
effort to grapple seriously with the pro- 
blems of the locality. The origin of the 
congregation is not a matter of ancient 
history. It dates back little more than 
half a century, yet there were several in- 
teresting features connected with the in- 
ception and prosecution of the movement 
which called it into being. It represents 
one of the earliest home mission enter- 
prises of the Free Church in Aberdeen. 
Ten years after the Disruption the 
ecclesiastical turmoil in Aberdeen had 
largely abated. The Free Church con- 
gregations had by that time been fully 
consolidated, and the ministers and 
members were in a position to render 
assistance and support to causes outside 
their own immediate circles. Thus it was 
that in 1853 the City Mission Committee 



of the Presbytery resolved to take some 
practical steps to meet the pressing claims 
of the Gallowgate district, which had for 
some time been lying heavy on their 
hearts. The committee at that time was 
a very strong and thoroughly representa- 
tive one. Rev. Dr. Robert J. Brown, 
formerly Professor of Greek in the Univer- 
sity, was the convener, and acting along 
with him were — Rev. Uavid Simpson, ol 
Trinity; Dr. Dyce Davidson, of the We6t ; 
Rev. John Adam, of the South ; Rev. 
Alexander Spence, of St. Clement's; Rev. 
J. C. Macphail, of the East; Principal 
Lumsden, Mr. "William Smith Thorn, Mr. 
James lnglis, Dr. William Henderson, Mr. 
Leslie of Birkwood, Mr. Neil Smith, and 
Mr. David Mitchell, advocate. After 
careful consideration of all the circum- 
stances and prospects, the committee in 
1853 resolved to commence work in the 
district under the name of the Gallowgate 
Territorial Mission. The meeting-place 
selected was the building known as the 
Gallowgate Mission Hall, situated in 
Eteid's Court. Xo. 144 Gallowgate, and a 
probationer, Rev. Alexander Stewart, was 
placed in charge. Mr. Stewart left ere he 
had time to make any real impression. 
Before his year was completed he in- 
timated his acceptance of an appointnioiic 
in Canada, and bade farewell to Aberdeen. 
A successor in the work of the Gallow- 
gate Mission was found in the person of 
Rev. Thomas Brown, under whom the 6rst 
signs of real progress became visible. Mr. 
Brown, who had been connected earlier 
in life with Free Tolbooth Church. Edin- 
burgh, came in 1854 to undertake a task 
which was the reverse of encouraging. 
There was only a mere handful of worken-. 
the surroundings were depressing in the 
extreme, and the general outlook far from 
hopeful. It will serve to give some idea of 
the difficulties and discouragements of the 
situation wdien it is stated that, after the 
Mission had been a year in existence, there 
was a roll of only a dozen individuals 
directly connected with it as members. 
Mr. Brown, however, was not dismayed, 
but applied himself with, energy and zeal 
to the work lying to hi6 charge. At a 
meeting of Presbytery held on 16th 
August, 1855, it was agreed to grant the 
request of the City Mission Committee, 
and authorise the administration of the 



Gallowgate U.F. Church Bazaar. ' 

A vigorous church with an- enterprising 
minister and office-bearers is not likely long 
to endure the hampering of its energies and 
impairing of its usefuineds by a burden of debt 
without an effort to rid iteLlf of the iooubue. 
, Such a church, and on© so circumstanced, js 
she Gallowgate United Free Qhuroh, Aberdeen, 
and it is at, present engaged in a praiseworthy 
effort to burst the fetters— a debt of about 
£1900 — by which its activities are bo some ex- 
tent curbed. A grand bazaar is the means to 
be employed for the purpose of achieving the 
hoped-for result, and in connection with the 
project there has been issued a b&ndsome, eub- 
fctantial bazaar-book, brimful of all manner of 
information and useful hints, not entirely con- 
fined in their application to the church and the 
locality, although these naturally claim finst at- 
tention in the literary matter. To Mr Alex- 
\ ander Gamioie (" lieclesiasticus ") was entrusted 
the tank of preparing a history of the Gallow- 
gate Church. It need only bo said that Mr 
Gam tnio hais performed this duty with oare and 
ability, and, as a result, an eminently 
readable historical summary haa been prepared. 
Iu the opening pages of the book a " pro- 
logue " is given. The bazaar is likened to a 
vessel ready to enter on her first voyage, and 
it is announced that " the launch will take ' 
place at 12 noon on Friday, 18th October, under I 
auspicious circumstances. The mystic words 1 
which will loose her from the slips will be pro- '■ 
nounoed by his Majesty's Lord Chief Justice, ; 
the Riuht Honourable Lord Snaw of Dunferm- 
line; the ceremony being presided over by the | 
| Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Lord Admiral of ] 
I the Port, a successful launch is assured." The 
I Musio Hall is the " shipbuilding yard." The I 
bazaar has the hearty approval of the Presby- I 
. toery, who last November appointed a com- ! 
mittee to co-operate with the Gallowgate ! 
Church in the venture. Full particulars are set 
forth in the book, which contains among its. 
other features an allegorical dramatic sketch, 
entitled " A Forecast," and an article on " The 
History of the Gallowgate," by Mr G. M. ! 
Fraser, librarian. A unique item is " The j 
Skipper's Wife's Navigation Book," in which j 
household hints, and hints by medical authori- 1 
ties on family troubles and 'first aid" in case i 
! of accidents or emergencies, are contained. A I 
i number of photographs are beautifully repro- 1 
! duced. They include photographs of Lord I 
Shaw, Sir Andrew Fraser, Lord Provost Mait- j 
land, and ex-Lord Provost Sir John Fleming — 
ail of whom take part in the proceeding*, which 
extend over two days. £?££. *rf'4/'pt\^ 



GAELOW HATE UNITED free church 



123 



Sacraments in the Mission Chapel. With 
the view of carrying out the matter, a 
session was appointed, pro tein., consisting 
of Rev. Dr. Robert Brown, Moderator ; 
and Messrs. Inglis, Mitchell, Beattie, 
Brown, Kay, James Smith, Urquliart, 
Brechin, and James Stewart, elders. The 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was first 
dispensed on 21st October. 18-55, the Rev. 
Professor Smeaton and Dr. Robert Brown 
officiating in the forenoon, and Dr. Fair- 
bairn in the evening. Mr. Brown must 
have possessed in considerable measure the 
gifts of an organising home missionary, as 
well as the zeal of an evangelist, for in 
course of time the work was greatly de- 
veloped in various directions. Two 
catechists — Misses MacAllan and Clark — 
were engaged as regular assistants ; a 
staff of 30 ladies visited from house to 
house ; 12 prayer meetings were held 
weekly; the Sunday Schools were staffed 
by 30 teachers, with 400 scholars; about 
30 poor children were educated in the "day 
schools from the funds of the Mission ; and 
a Penny Savings Bank was instituted, and 
soon had 500 depositors. In all these 
religious and philanthropic efforts there 
was surely a foreshadowing of the for- 
ward movement inaugurated half a 
century later. 

With a view to the requirements 
and further development of so pro- 
mising an organisation, the Presby- 
terial Committee proceeded, in 1859, to 
take steps for the erection of a suitable 
place of worship. By the efforts of 
friends of the Mission, a sum of £760 was 
quickly raised, and this was afterwards in- 
creased by a collection from the congrega- 
tions of the Presbytery. A site was 
secured in the centre of the district at a 
cost of £217, and the church was com- 
pleted and opened for worship in De- 
cember, 1861. Mr. Brown's success had 
been almost phenomenal, the membership 
having increased from the original dozen 
to well over 200. In these circumstances 
it was not surprising that there should 
have been a desire on the part of the 
members to have the Mission raised to the 
status of a regular congregation. It was 
felt that the time had come when the 
charge of its affairs should pass from the 
Presbyterial Committee (whose oversight 
and help had admittedly been of the 
utmost value) to the hands of the members 
themselves. With this desire for greater 
independence the Presbytery did not fully 
sympathise, or, at least, they did not feel 
justified in encouraging it. One of the 



main reasons for the insistence of the 
members on their supposed right to be con- 
stituted as a congregation was their strong 
personal attachment to Mr. Brown, whose 
position under the arrangements hitherto 
existing they felt to he insecure. By the 
refusal of the Free Church Presbytery to 
grant the prayer of the petition matters 
came to a crisis. On 10th February, 1803, 
Mr. Brown applied to the United Pres- 
byterian Presbytery of Aberdeen to be 
received as a minister of the U.P. Church, 




Old Free Gallowgate Church. 

and at a subsequent meeting, when his 
application was granted, the U.P. Pres- 
bytery had also before it a petition from 
over 300 individuals connected with the 
Free Church Gallowgate Mission praying 
to be received along with him. The re- 
sult was that Mr. Brown and his fol- 
lowers founded the congregation of Nel- 
son Street U.P. Church, which became an 
active agency for good in the district. 
Mr. David Lowe, a licentiate of the 
Church, was appointed to succeed Mr. 
Brown. In the meantime a suggest ion 
was made that one of the city congrega- 
tions might take the Gallowgate Mission 



124 



THE CHURCHES UF ABERDEEN 



under ite fostering care, and Rev. John 
Adam, of the Free South Church, under- 
took to bring the matter before his kirk- 
session. The result was that the South 
Church, with the full approval of the 
Presbytery, assumed a responsibility which 
it continued to discharge long after the 
Gallowgate Mission was a fully sanctioned 
charge. 

Mr. Lowe was succeeded by Rev. James 
Goodall, who had been labouring in the 
West Port Mission, Hawick. Mr. Goodall 
entered on the work in July, 1864, and two 




Rev. James Goodall. 

years later the Territorial Mission was 
raised by the Presbytery to the status of 
a regular charge. This opened the way 
for issuing a call, and on 20th September, 
1864, Mr. Goodall was ordained as first 
minister of the congregation. He con- 
tinued in the active ministry of the 
church for other 35 years, and lie be- 
came one of the most familiar figures in 
the Gallowgate district. His kindly 
intercourse with the people and 
his unobtrusive zeal and earnest 
ness were recognised on every hand. 
It was only by reason of the infirmities 
of advancing age that he retired from the 
active duties of the pastorate in 1900, and 
applied for the appointment of a colleague 
and successor. He was spared to see the 



recent developments in the Gallowgate, 
and he retained in his seclusion the warm 
e'steem of the congregation He died 15th 
June, 1909. 

On Mr. Goodall's retirement, souic 
difficulty was experienced in finding a suit- 
able successor, but ultimately a call was 
addressed to Rev. John Livingstone, of 
Stevenston, Ayrshire. Thi6 proved a most 
fortunate selection. Mr. Livingstone had 
been ordained in 1885, and he had gained 
a high reputation in the ministry. This 
reputation he greatly enhanced after 
coming to Aberdeen. His induction to the 
Gallowgate Church took place in January, 
1901, and soon thereafter the congrega- 
tion entered on a new and greatly ex- 
tended scheme of work. The membership 
of the church largely increased, and many 
organisations and agencies were 6et a-go- 
ing. Influential friends and willing 
workers rallied to Mr. Livingstone's as- 
sistance, and it was seen that the Gallow- 
gate Church under the new regime was to 
be the centre of a wide movement in home 
mission and social work. This emphasised 
the growing need for a new church, and 
after mature consideration it was re- 
solved to proceed with the erection of a 
suite of buildings on the Manchester 
system. This includes a large church 
specially adapted for aggressive work, the 
main feature being the absence of a pulpit, 
and the substitution of a platform, with a 
small reading desk, the choir seat6 rising 
in circular sweeps to the wall behind. 
Another unusual feature is that there are 
no galleries, but that the 6eats at the 
sides and at the west-end of the church 
are sloped up from the floor, those at the 
west-end being carried over the entrance 
vestibule. There are also numerous class- 
rooms and other accommodation for re- 
ligious, social, and philanthropic work o* 
all kinds. The foundation-6tone of the 
building wa6 laid by Principal Rainy on 
19th December, 1903, and the opening 
services were held on Friday, 14th October, 
1904. The preachers on the occasion were 
Rev. Dr. R. G. Balfour, of Edinburgh, 
Moderator of the General Assembly, and 
Hew Alexander Frazer. of Tain. 

The premises are commodious, bright, and 
attractive, and they are open every day of 
the week. On Sundays there are servicer 
and classes from morning till night, and 
while the distinctly evangelistic aspect of 
the work is kept well in the forefront. 
great attention is Wing given to organisa- 
tions for the young, and to various 
agencies for the social improvement of the 



GALLOWGATE UNITED FREE CHURCH 



125 



people. The reclamation of the lapsed is 
not the only aim. Prevention of lapsing 
is also recognised as a most important 
ideal towards which every effort must be 
put forth. In all the varied operations of 
the congregation Mr. Livingstone's in- 
fluence was felt. The present movement is 
largely due to the exercise of his organis- 
ing and administrative gifts. By his 
energy and zeal, his evangelical fervour, 
and his sanctified common sense, he 
led the people forward into new paths, 
and gave them the prospect of making a 
real impression on the irreligion and in- 
difference with which tney are surrounded 
on every hand. The church has been 
fortunate in its office-bearers, and in hav- 
ing a lay missionary in the person of Mr. 
Thomas Allison, whose experience and gifts 
have already been of the utmost service, 
and who is also making his influence felt 
throughout the district. 

One notable feature of Mr. Livingstone's 
influence was the manner in which he was 
able to draw to the Gallowgate congrega- 
tion the sympathy and support of other 
Churches, and of workers in other spheres. 
The South U.F. Church has been regarded 
as the Mother Church of the Gallowgate 
congregation, and it has never failed in its 
maternal care. From other quarters help 
has also been readily forthcoming. Ex- 
Baillie Maitland has been one of the best 
friends of the Gallowgate Church, and 
other prominent laymen have been 
generous supporters. The self-denying 
services of the workers, and the genuine- 
ness of their often obscure work, have 
appealed in a peculiar manner to the 
sympathy of the Christian public. 

In the early months of 1909 Mr. Living- 
stone obtained leave of absence for a pro- 
longed holiday, during which he went on a 
visit to Egypt. Returning to Aberdeen in 




Rev. John Livingstone. 

the autumn, he had just resumed hi6 work 
when he was laid aside by what proved to 
be his last illness. He died on 12th Sep- 
tember, 1909, at the comparatively early 
age of fifty-two ; and the loss of such a 
man was widely and deeply mourned. His 
funeral was attended by a very large num- 
ber of citizens interested in Christian work 
and representing all denominations, while 
the streets near the church were crowded 
by denizens of the slums. It was a striking 
tribute to the memory of a faithful min- 
ister of the Gospel, whose saintly life and 
consuming devotion to duty will not soon 
bo forgotten. 



XXXII— GILCOMSTON UNITED FREE CHURCH 




Gilcomston CJ.F. Church. 



At the Disruption of 1843 the Parish 
Church of Gilcomston shared the fate of 
its neighbours in the city of Aberdeen. The 
minister at the time, Rev. James Bryce, 
who had .succeeded to the charge on the 
death of the famous Dr. Kickl, announced 
his adhesion to the Free Church, and left 
the Establishment. He did not go alone. 
The greater part of the congregation fol- 
lowed him into what appeared to be the 
wilderness, but what proved in their ex- 
perience to be a goodly land. The fol- 
lowers of Mr. Bryce were neither few in 
number nor lacking in enthusiasm for the 
new cause. The services were held for a 
time in the Music Hall Buildings, then 
known as the Assembly or County Rooms, 
and so great was the pressure on the 
accommodation that it was found necessary 
to institute a system of admission by 
tickets supplied to the heads of families. 
In course of time the congregation secured 
a site in Huntly Street, on which they 
built the first Gilcomston Free Church, a 
plain but commodious structure. The 
building is still standing, but it has since 
been entirely remodelled, and it is known 
to-day as the Albert Hall. 

Rev. James Bryce, who was tlie first 
minister of the congregation, was a man 
of considerable attainments, and the Uni- 



versity of Glasgow recognised his abilities 
by conferring upon hirn the honorary 
degree of LL.D. After being licensed by 
the Presbytery of Stirling in 1819, he had 
been ordained to the ministry at Stamford- 
ham in 1824, and on 30th April, 1835, he 
was settled at Wooler. In the latter 
charge he remained only a few months, 
having been appointed in the same year to 
the vacancy in Gilcomston Church. To 
follow a man of the remarkable personality 
and the unusual ability of Dr. Kidd must 
have been no easy task ; but Dr. Bryce was 
evidently successful in no small degree in 
retaining the loyalty of the members. This 
was proved by the extent to which they 
followed him when he took the momentous 
step of leaving the church, and it was 
further proved by the hearty support which 
was given him in the early years of thc- 
uew congregation. In addition to his pul- 
pit and pastoral work, which was more 
than usually heavy on account of the 
special circumstances, he found time to 
undertake other duties of a more public- 
nature. For several sessions before the 
equipment of a theological faculty in con- 
nection with the Free Church was com- 
pleted, Dr. Bryce lectured to the students 
on Church history, and he proved a most 
successful teacher. He had also a wide 
knowledge of apologetics, and was generally 
regarded as a man of vigorous mind and 
scholarly tastes and attainments. A throat 
complaint from which he had suffered for 
some time compelled him to relinquish the 
pastorate of Gilcomston Church in 1854. 
when he removed to Edinburgh, where he 
died in 1861. 

On the resignation of Dr. Bryce, the con- 
gregation of Gilcomston addressed a call to 
Rev. Walter Macgilvray. D.D.. of St. 
Mark's Church, Glasgow, by whom it was 
eventually accepted. Dr. Macgilvray was 
then 4(j years of age, and he had behind 
him a rather remarkable record of work 
in various spheres. His first charge was 
that of St. Mark's, Glasgow, but he after- 
wards became minister of Hope Street 
Gaelic Church, a position for which, as a 
native of the Western Isles, he was 
specially fitted. Some time after the Dis- 
ruption he went out to Canada to minister 
to the Gaelic-speaking portion of the com- 
munity, and he remained abroad until he 
was again called to St. Mark's, Glasgow. 




Rev. Dr. Walter Macgilvr ay 

From a Painting in the vestry ■•/ Gilcomsion U.l-\ Cftwc/t t Aberdeen 



OILCOMSTON UNITED FREE CHURCH 



127 



cv^T 



r- U-L,J--i ,a 1 i iH 



r^ 




rr ^yi t~i t 



i ',',',',',' i~i 






Old Free Giloomston Church, Huntly Street 



from which, in 1854, he removed to Aber- 
deen. Dr. Macgilvray found the Gilcom- 
ston congregation somewhat disorganised 
as a consequence of a rather lengthy 
vacancy ; but he soon put fresh life and 
vigour into it. He made hie mark in the 
city almost from the outset of hits 
ministry. A fluent and eloquent speaker. 
with true Celtic fire and fervour, he 
attracted immense audiences to the 
church in Huntly Street, particularly 
to the evening lectures, of which he 
made a special feature. He became 
famous as an antagonist of Roman 
Catholicism, and his great anti-Popery dis- 
courses, in which he let himself go in bursts 
of passion, made something of a sensation, 
and became the talk of the town. There 
was a great accession to the membership in 
the course of a few years ; and in 1868 the 
congregation, which had become one of the 
largest in the denomination in Aberdeen, 
removed from the church in Huntly Street 
to the imposing edifice in Union Street 
which it still occupies. The present Gil- 
comston Church i.s a stately building, de- 
signed by Mr. William Smith, city archi- 
tect, and its fine proportions have been 
frequently commented on. 

Dr. Macgilvray did not confine his 
energies to the work of his own 
congregation. He was always keen for 
debate, and for many years he played an 
important part in the local Presbytery. He 
was very conservative in many things, and 
when the first proposals for union with the 
U.P. Church were being discussed, about 
1873, they found in him a resolute op- 
ponent, as he held that the time for an 
incorporating union had not then arrived. 
Along with Dr. Begg, Dr. Nixon, and 
Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Macgilvray took a 
leading part in the opposition to the move- 
ment, and he likewise strongly disapproved 



of the agitation for Disestablishment. By 
his attitude on these questions he placed 
himself at variance with an influential sec- 
tion of the Church, and it is believed that 
it was the means of his failure to secure 
the Hebrew Chair in the Aberdeen College, 
as well as preferment to other posts of 
honour. Had he been appointed to that 
professorship, the whole coarse of history 
might have been altered, for Professor 
Robertson .Smith might never have come 
to the chair, from which, after so long and 
bitter a controversy, he was afterwards 
deposed. Dr. Macgilvray was also an un- 
successful candidate for the Chair of 
Systematic Theology in the New College, 
Edinburgh, being defeated by Rev. J. S. 
Candlish, then minister of the Free East 
Church, Aberdeen. Dr. .Macgilvray was 
the author of several volumes, as 
well as of numerous published ser- 
mons and lectures ; and he had other 
works in contemplation at the time of his 
death, in 1880. He had retired from the 
active pastorate of the congregation in 
1876, and for the last four years of his 
life had lived quietly in Edinburgh pursu- 
ing his favourite studies. Dr. Macgilvray 
was unquestionably a man of outstanding 
parts. He had the defects of his qualities 
--a quick temper, which may have been 
the accompaniment of his oratorical tem- 
perament, and an impulsiveness, which 
may have sprung from his Highland fer- 
vour. He was generous and warm-hearted 
in disposition, gentlemanly and dignified 
in demeanour, and, alike as a preacher 
and a citizen, he filled a large place in the 
public life of Aberdeen in his day and 
generation. 

Perhaps the outstanding triumph of Dr. 
Macgilvray's public career was his return 
at the first School Board election in Aber- 
deen at the top of the poll by a large 



128 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



majority. He took what was then re- 
garded as an advanced position— when he 
declared for the dropping of the Shorter 
Catechism and the retention of the Bible 
only in the public schools —the position 
subsequently adopted in Aberdeen. 

The next minister of Gilcomston Church 
- Rev. Robert A. Mitchell, M.A.— was of 
an entirely different type. Mr. Mitchell, 
who was of a quiet, studious, retiring dis- 
position, was appointed assistant to Dr. 
Gandlish in St. George's, Edinburgh, dur- 
ing the absence of Mr. Oswald Dykes, after- 
wards Principal of Westminster College, 
Cambridge, and in 1864 he was ordained 
to the ministry at Carnbee, shortly there- 
after declining an invitation to succeed 
the distinguished Dr. Duff. He was trans- 
lated to East Kilbride in ]869, where he 
followed emiuent men, such as Dr. 
tianna, Sir Henry Moncreiff, Dr. R. G. 
Balfour, of Edinburgh ; Dr. Oswald Dykes, 
and Dr. Ross Taylor. In January, 1877, 
he was settled as colleague and successor 
to Dr. Macgilvray, and in 1880 he became 
sole pastor. In the course of a few years 
the heavy debt on the church was cleared 
off, and the halls were built. Mr. Mitchell 
took little part in public or even Presby- 
tery work. The only time when he came 
prominently forward was in connection 
with the Robertson Smith controversy, 
when he ably advocated the case for tolera- 
tion. He preferred the quiet of his own 
study and the companionship of his books. 
Those who were qualified to speak were 
ready to declare that no more accomplished 
theologian than the minister of Gilcomston 
Church could have been found in his time ; 
but he was so shy and sensitive and so un- 
willing to allow himself to be brought out 
of obscurity that only his intimate friends 
had any idea of the treasures of his mind. 
His congregation knew the value of his 
pulpit work. He put his best into his ser- 
mons, and they were regarded as models 
of their kind, based on a careful exegesis, 
expressed in beautiful diction, and deli- 
vered with a tender, subdiied earnestness 
and deep sincerity. " Quietly and modestly 
hi did his work, loved and trusted by his 
congregation, admired by his friends, and 
regarded with reverence by those who were 
admitted to his close friendship." Thus 
spoke one of his colleagues when he passed 
away, and the truth of the words all who 
knew Mr. Mitchell will be ready to admit. 
Latterly his health was not robust, but. 
though his strength was seen to be failing, 
the public were startled by the suddenness 
of his death on 31st October, 1897. Mr. 
Mitchell has left behind him several pub- 



lished sermons and one or two minor works, 
but nothing which can be regarded as in 
any way affording an indication of his ex- 
ceptional gifts as a thinker and theologian. 
His best monument is to be found in the 
memory of his unsullied life and his con- 
sistent Christian character. 

In Rev. Robert Forgan, B.D., the con- 
gregation found a worthy successor to the 
men who had occupied the Gilcomston pul- 
pit, and one with excellent qualifications 
for taking up the work of the charge. A 




Rev. Robert Forgan, B.D. 

highly distinguished student, and, like 
Mr Mitchell, a holder of the Cunningham 
Fellowship. Mr. Forgan had gained ex- 
perience of the work of the ministry at 
Montrose and Rothesay : and he came To 
Aberdeen in 1898 fully equipped in every 
way for the task before him. Gilcomston 
required such a man at the time. The 
congregation was in a sense feeling the 
strain of something like a transition period 
in its history. To Mr. Forgan there lay 
the task of consolidating and increasing 
the membership, of developing the organi- 
sation, and quickening the activities of the 
congregation. In this he has been largely 
successful. An able preacher, with a 
special gift of clear exposition, scholarly, 
and practical rather than rhetorical, he has 
maintained the traditions of the Gileom- 



^•4 2 A si-* 






(UIJ'OMSTOX UNITED FREE CHURCH 



120 



ston pulpit ; while by bis organising and 
administrative powers lie has led the people 
forth to new experiences of work and en- 
deavour. Since his settlement, the sum of 
£1700 to £1800 has been spent on the 
church fabric (including the price of the 
organ), and the cost has been entirely de- 
frayed. New agencies have been insti- 
tuted, and those already in operation have 
been stirred into new vigour. The Band 
of Hope, which i6 under the superinten- 
dence of Baillie Robertson, is one of the 
largest in the city, and the Sunday School 
is also nourishing. In this connection it 
may be interesting to note that the Den- 
burn Mission of the East U.F. Church was 
at one time attached to Gilcomston. Dr. 
Macgilvray's attitude on the union ques- 
tion alienated some of his leading office- 
bearers and workers, and caused a small 
secession from the congregation. A num- 
ber, including Mr. Thomas Ogilvie and his 
father, who was a prominent elder at the 
time, left Gilcomston and joined the Free 
East, and practically took the Denburn 
Mission along with them. Gilcomston was 
not in a position at the time to enter its 
protest, and thus the mission has remained 
under the care of the East Church. 



Gilcomston has well-known names asso- 
ciated with its history. Professor A. B. 
Davidson was for a short time assistant to 
Dr. Macgilvray, and among others who 
were connected with the congregation 
either as young men or assistant ministers 
there may be mentioned — Rev. Alex. Rust, 
Arbroath ; Rev. Alex. Wishart, Forgue, 
and Rev. W. Gordon Lawrence, of Bir- 
mingham. The most prominent layman 
was Dr. Francis Edmond of Kingswells, 
who in more than one respect was a tower 
of strength to the congregation. In the 
present day it has, in addition to Baillie 
Robertson, public men such as — Mr. G. M. 
Thomson, a former member of the School 
Board; Mr. A. M. Munro, city chamber- 
lain ; and Mr. A. Tytler Nicol, solicitor. 
Mr. Forgan takes more than an 
average interest in the Church Courts, 
and his reputation as an ecclesiastic 
-which is already high — is steadily 
growing The claims of Gilcomston, 

however, are not allowed to suffer. 
Since his settlement the membership has 
increased from about 550 to 700, and its 
growth has not yet been arrested. Pheno- 
menal progress is, perhaps, not to be looked 
for ; but steady development may be taken 
as assured. 



GILCOMSTON U.F. CHURCH. 

Services in Celebration of 
Jubilee. 

The jubilee of Giloomston U.F. Church, 
Aberdeen, which was opened iu 1868, was 
observed by special services yesterday. The 
Church goes back to 1843, the year of the Dis- 
ruption, when, under the ministry of the Rev. 
Dr James Bryce, " it came out." Th e late 
Rev. Dr Walter Macgilvray became minister in 
1854, and continued in the active pastorate until 
j 876. Dr Macgilvray was succeeded by the late ! 
Rev. Robert A. Mitchell, and in 1898 the Rev. I 
Robert Forgan was called from Rothesay, to be ' 
minister ot the congregation, which l>e has 
served with great devotion and acceptance. 
Besides 1ms pin fly yastoral -work Mr Forgan is 
well known throughout the Church for hie capa- 
city in the work of the General Assembly. 

The coigtegotion of GJJoomston lirst wor- 
shipped in the Musio Hall Buildings, but in the 
course of time built the first Gilcomston Free 
Church in Huntly Street, and the building is 
now known as the Albert Hall. 

Yesterday forenoon the Rev. J. 8. Stewart, 
North U.F. Church, occupied the pulpit, and in 
the evening the service was conducted' bv Mr 
i organ. There were Urge congregations at 
both services. J^ST 



£*/'9& 



XXXIII— GREYFRIARS UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Greyfriars D.F. Church. 



The minister of Greyfriars Parish in the 
Disruption year of 1843 was the Rev. 
Abercromby L. Gordon, one of the most 
zealous and successful of the city clergy- 
men of his day. In addition to the work 
of his own pastorate, he had found an 
outlet for his zeal in various schemes for 
the amelioration of the lot of the people in 
the district, as well as for the extension of 
the church. It was due to his power of 
initiative and pioneering earnestness that 
John Knox Church was founded in Mount- 
hooly to supply the northern portion of 
Greyfriars Parish. He likewise instituted 
the John Knox Schools, which proved so 
notable an adjunct of that church, and 
was the originator of the Porthill Schools 
in the Gallowgate. in closer proximity to 
Greyfriars. and designed to serve his own 
parish. In several enterprises of a 
philanthropic and charitable nature, he 
was the prime mover, and notably in the 
institution of the Girls' Hospital in the 
Gallowgate. He was also one of those 
mainly instrumental in the raising of 
the Mariners' Church to the 6tatus of a 
regular charge with an ordained minister. 
In this matter Mr. Abercromby Gordon 
spared neither time, trouble, nor means. 
The claims of the Seamen's Chapel 
appealed to him, and he urged its cause 
in the Church Courts, including even the 
General Assembly, and ultimately under- 
took and discharged a considerable 
financial responsibility in order to have it 
placed on a sound basis. 

When the controversv which issued in 



the Disruption was raging throughout the 
country, the position of Mr. Abercromby 
Gordon ... determined. It was 

soon evident that his sympathies were 
wholly with the non-intrusion party — in- 
deed, he made no effort to conceal his 
opinions. Some weeks prior to the 
Assembly of 1S43, he called a meeting of 
Greyfriars congregation, explained to them 
the whole position of affairs, and asked 
their opinion as to future proceedings. 
Even then it seemed clear that there would 
be a great upheaval, and as the members 
were practically unanimous in their sup- 
port of Mr. Gordon's attitude, the prospect 
of being left churchle&s wa> under con- 
sideration. Various suggestions were made 
as to the future, but nothing was decided. 
When Mr. Gordon returned from the 
memorable Assembly, he found Greyfriars 
congregation ready to forsake the Establish- 
ment along with him. Tbe old church wa.s 
left almost wholly deserted, and the con- 
giegation found a temporary place of wor- 
ship in St. Paul Street Relief Church, which 
was lent them for part of the Sundays. 
Ultimately it was resolved to proceed with 
the erection of a Free Greyfriars Church 
in Crown Street, near the corner of 
Academy Street, and to this proposal the 
Presbytery gave its sanction on 25th July. 
1843. Mr. Gordon undertook the sole 
financial responsibility himself, but the 
members, although largely of the poorer 
classes, subscribed most heartily. 

Round the question of this site there 
raged for a time a keen controversy, which 
must have been prejudicial to the progress 
of the congregation. There had apparently 
been — outside the congregation at anyrate 
- a division of opinion on the matter all 
along, and after Mr. Gordon left, the dis- 
cussion reached an acute stage. Mr. Gor- 
9 resignation of the charge was in- 
timated to the Presbytery on 25th July, 
1845, and he subsequently removed to 
Loudon, and connected himself with the 
English Presbyterian Church. The position 
: eyfriars then claimed the attention 
of the Presbytery, and it proved for a 
time a thorny subject. There was in the 
court a party which held that the church 
sLould never have been built outside the 
parish of Greyfriars. and Captain Shepherd 
of Kirkville. Skene, was one of the most 
outspoken of this section. At one meeting 



GBEYFRIAES UNITED FREE CHUECH 



131 



of Presbytery the captain is reporte'd to 
have said that Greyfriars congregation 
should have remained in the parish and 
built a church in the Gallowgate, but that 
" their own ambition drove them to the 
west end among the gentry, close by 
another church, too " — the latter reference 
being to Trinity Free Church, which had 
also been erected about the same time a 
few yards farther north in Crown Street. 
To the remark as to ambition driving them 
to the west end among the gentry, Mr. 
Abercromby Gordon took strong exception. 
Although he had then severed his connec- 
tion with the church and with Aberdeen, 
he wrote from London a long letter of re- 
monstrance to the Moderator of the 
Presbytery. This letter, which went fully 
into all the facts of the case, was sub- 
sequently published in pamphlet form as 
Mr. Gordon's defence against what he re- 
garded as false insinuations. His main 
argument for the choice of a site in Crown 
Street was that Greyfriars Parish was fully 
occupied by other Free and dissenting 
churches. The Free North had been erected 
within the parish at one end, and at the 
other Free John Knox occupied the field. 
The Gallowgate was served by the St. Paul 
Street Relief Church, and Longacre and 
West North Street by the Wesleyan Meth- 
odists. In going to a new locality 
farther west, he therefore argued that 
he was serving the interests of Church 
extension, and he had hoped that by 
raising a strong congregation in this 
now locality he might be able, with 
their support and co-operation, to give 
more effective service than ever in east end 
mission work. It is said that he contem- 
plated in course of time founding a church 
and school in the Bool Road (Albion Street) 
district, another near the Porthill Schools, 
and still another in the vicinity of Jack's 
Brae and Short Leanings. Mr. Gordon may 
not have seen any of these ideas realised, 
but the whole trend of his life in Aberdeen 
seems to refute the imputation which he so 
warmly resented that his "ambition drove 
him to the west end among the gentry." 

Whatever may have been Mr. Gordon's 
motives, the Presbytery, although approv- 
ing of the site when it was chosen, 
evidently came to the opinion that it 
was a mistake. As early as 6th January, 
1846 — within a few months after Mr. Gor- 
don's removal — the court had under con- 
sideration a proposal to remove the con- 
gregation from Crown Street. In the 
meantime, repeated efforts had been made 
to secure a new minister for Greyfriars, 



but three times in succession the call was 
declined. The fourth attempt was more 
successful, Rev. John Thomson, of Montrose 
(a half-brother of the celebrated Dr. Andrew 
Thomson, of St George's, Edinburgh), ac- 
cepting the invitation, and being inducted 
to the charge on 5th November, 1846. The 
controversy over the removal of the con- 
gregation continued for some time, but 
ultimately it was formally decided to leave 
the Crown Street district. The church 
which was then relinquished afterwards 
passed into the hands of the Episcopalians, 




Old Free Greyfriars Church, Crown Street. 

and was for many years known as St. 
James's Episcopal Church. It is used to- 
day as the Aberdeen Physical Training 
College. 

The Greyfriars congregation were again 
homeless, and they worshipped for a con- 
siderable time in the Free South Church 
Schools in Charlotte Street, pending the 
selection of a site for a new church. This 
was eventually found in George Street, at 
its junction with Maberly Street, where the 
present church stands. The opening ser- 
vices in the new building were held on 17th 
June, 1855, the preachers on the occasion 
being the famous Dr. Guthrie, of Edin- 
burgh, Rev. Professor Patrick Fairbairn, 
and Rev. John Thomson, minister of the 
congregation. Dr. Guthrie, who was a 



L32 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



relative of Mr. Thomson, also gave a 
public lecture on a week evening in the 
Free South Church, the proceeds going to 
the Greyfriars Building Fund. Mr. Thom- 
son continued in the pastorate for other 15 
years — thus giving in all 24 years in the 
service of Greyfriars. He was a man of 
courtly instincts, gentlemanly and dignified 
in bearing. Apparently he was regarded 
as belonging to the old school of ministers, 
with but little interest or sympathy towards 
the newer movements which were even 
then beginning to develop, or the new 
claims which were asserting themselves. 
His resignation took effect in 1870, when 
he retired from the active duties of the 
ministry. 

At this time the condition of Greyfriars 
congregation again occupied the attention 
of the Presbytery. Notwithstanding Mr. 
Thomson's earnest ministry, the congrega- 
tion latterly had not been in a flourishing 
condition, and now it was temporarily re- 
duced to the status of a preaching station. 
For the next year or two it was worked as 
a territorial mission under the Free East 
Church, and Mr. Hugh Fitzpatrick, of the 
Irish Presbyterian Church, was appointed 
missionary in charge in September, 1870. 
The minister and office-bearers of the Free 
East took a warm and active interest in 
the cause, and Mr. Fitzpatrick soon proved 
very successful in building it up — so suc- 
cessful, indeed, that in June, 1872, Grey- 
friars was again erected into a regular 
charge of the Free Church, with permis- 
sion to call a minister. The outcome was 
the ordination of Rev. Hugh Fitzpatrick to 
the charge. 

Mr. Fitzpatrick's ministry — especially in 
its earlier years— was one of phenomenal 
prosperity. He caught the ear of the 
working people, and drew large congrega- 
tions, particularly on the Sunday evenings, 
when the church was always filled. The 
membership for a time increased very 
rapidly, and the seating accommodation 
had to be extended, but in 1884 Mr. Fitz- 
patrick removed from Aberdeen, having 
accepted a call to Keith, where he still 
labours. 

The vacancy which followed was in some 
respects a trying one for Greyfriars Church, 
and the congregation had declined some- 
what by this time. In July, 1885, Rev. 
William Smith, the present minister, was 
inducted to the charge, having accepted a 
unanimous call addressed to him after he 
had preached by request. Mr. Smith, who 
is a native of Caithness, studied at Edin- 
burgh University and New College, and 



soon after the completion of his course he 
was appointed to take charge of Inverurie 
Free Church for three months after the 
departure of Rev. P. W. Minto. When 
there hi.s name came under the notice of 
the Greyfriars congregation, with the re- 
sult that he finally became minister of the 
church. Mr. Smith's task was from the 
first beset by not a few difficulties, but he 
has remained at his post, working with 
earnestness and fidelity along purely 
evangelical lines. The outstanding feature 
of hi.s ministry has been the alteration and 
improvement scheme, which was begun in 
November, 1900, and completed in Septem- 
ber, 1901. By this scheme Greyfriars con- 
gregation was provided with what was 




Rev. William Smith. 

practically a new church, and put in pos- 
session of buildings well equipped in every 
way according to modern ideas. The old 
church had become not only antiquated in 
style, but almost unfit for occupation, while 
no other meeting-place was available for 
classes and societies except the small, dingy 
vestry. The alterations provided not only 
for a comfortable church, but also for suffi- 
cient hall accommodation underneath, and 
the total outlay amounted to about £2000. 
Some assistance was received from the 
Presbytery's East-End Scheme, and by the 
efforts of the minister and congregation the 
expense has now been almost wholly de- 
frayed. The church occupies a desirable 



1 ' . 

*.*/£„ OBITUARY. 






RET. HUGH FfTZPATEICK. 




[Photo by John Stuart, Keith. 

On Thursday last week the body of a gentleman 
well advanced in years was found lying on the 
beach near Portkriockie by a fisherman, 
named Falconer, about twelve yards 

above high-water mark. The body was 

still wonru, but life was extinct. Under the dir- 
ection of Mv Addison, J.P. ; and the local con- 
stable, it was removed to the vestry of the Sea- 
field Parish Church, where it was identified by 
;js that of Per. Hugh Fitzpatriok, minisfcer 
ot the North U.F. Church, Keith. It i s stated 
that Mr Fitzpatrick left an Aberdeen-bound train 
at Cairnie on Thursday forenoon, and joined the 
11.55 a.m. train for OuMen. 

The news of the sudden and unexpected death 
of Rev. Hugh Fitzpatriok was received in Keith 
on Thursday evening with feelings of the most 
profound 9orrow and regret. It was only on Tues- 
day evening that at a meeting of his session he 
stated that on September 1 he would have com- 
pleted 40 years of his ministry, and that he had 
intimated tlus fact to Rev. James Stookdale, 
Grange, clerk to the Banff and Stxathbogie U.F. 
Presbytery, so that the matter of providing a 
colleague and successor to him in the ministry 
of the North Church might be considered. Little 
did his session imagine that the career of Mr 
Fitzpatriok would be brought to such a sudden 
and tragic termination. 



A native of the north of Ireland, Mr Fitzpat- 
rick, after being minister of Greyfriars U.F. 
Church, Aberdeen, went to Keith in succession to 
Rev. Robert Macleod, Free John Knox, Aber- 
deen, in the 'eighties. Besides attending to his 
ministerial work he took a keen and active in- 
terest in all public affairs, more especially in the 
work of the Parish Council and the School Board. 
He is survived by his wife, who is a daughter 
of the late Mr Eaton, Aberdeen, and a family 
of two sons and two daughters. 

In Aberdeen Mr Fitzpatriok was one of the 
most popular of city clergymen, and the high 
pulpit standard which he reached in Aberdeen 
was fully maintained during his long and 
aotive ministry of nearly 4-0 years. When in 
Aberdeen ho took an active part in the work of 
the Presbytery. Of a genial and likeable dis- 
position. Mr Fitzpatriok made many friends dur- 
ing his residence in Aberdeen, and his death 
under such sad and tragic circumstances will be 
deeply regretted both in the city and in Keith. 



GREYFRIARS UNITED FREE CHURCH 



133 



site in one of the busiest thoroughfares in 
the city, and in the midst of a dense popu- 
lation, where there is likely to be abundant 
scope for aggressive work for many years 
to come. Meantime the congregation has 
the usual organisations, such as Sunday 
School, Band of Hope, etc., and special 
missions are occasionally held with the view 
of reaching the non-churchgoing. 

Amongst those who were prominently 
identified with Greyfriars in byegone days 
special mention must be made of Dr. R. 
G. Brown, Professor of Greek in Aberdeen 



'University, and Moderator of the Assembly 
in 1848, and his brother, Dr. G. G. Brown, 
who, after an influential career abroad, 
settled in Aberdeen. Both of the brothers 
stood loyally by Greyfriars through its vari- 
ous vicissitudes, and rendered inestimable 
service to the congregation in many ways. 
With few exceptions, however, the member- 
ship, even when at its largest, was almost 
wholly composed of the working classes, 
and this characteristic, which has been true 
of Greyfriars through all the years of its 
history, is equally pronounced to-day. 



XXXIV.— HIGH UNITED FREE CHURCH 




High U.F. Church. 

The building in which this congregation 
worships was erected at the time of the 
Disruption in 1843, but the congregation 
itself, under its present constitution, dates 
only from the year 1867. There is a 
history attaching to the building itself, 
and thi6 history must be referred to in 
any attempt to trace the origin of the 
congregation. 



In the memorable year of the Disrup- 
tion, when there was so great an exodus 
from the churches of the Establishment in 
Aberdeen, there was a great boom in 
church building in the city. Many places 
of worship were speedily prepared, but the 
most important of all the schemes of the 
time was that for the erection of a group 
of three churches with a common 6pire. 
An excellent site was secured at the 
junction of Belmont Street and School- 
hill, the purchase price, a6 the result of 
very careful and skilful negotiations, 
being only £2031 8s 7d. Through the 6ale 
of a dwelling-house, the creation of an 
annuity of £40 on the ground and the 
employment of rents received from 
tenants, a sum of £1491 6s 4d was ob- 
tained, and the actual cost of the site 
was thu6 reduced to £540 2s 3d. A joint 
committee, or body of trustees, consisting 
of three persons from each of the three 
congregations, was appointed to proceed 
with the erection of the common edifice, 
Mr (afterwards Dr) Francis Edmond being 
the leading spirit in the movement. The 
promoters were extremely fortunate in 
securing the services of Mr. Archibald 
Simpson, a man of true geniu6, as archi- 
tect for the building. The work was 
prosecuted with all possible 6peed, until, 
in the end of December, 1843, and in 
January, 1844, in the incredibly 6hort 
period of about 6even months after che 
Disruption, the churches were ready for 
occupation, the spire alone remaining to 
be added. Not less remarkable than the 
rapidity of the erection of the joint 
edifice wa6 the moderate amount of its 
cost, the total 6um falling below £7000. 
From an architectural point of view also, 
the scheme proved a marked success. At 
the time, the fine appearance of the triple 
church was universally admired, and even 
to-day, with our more advanced views, it 
is recognised that the spire surmounting 
the edifice, albeit it is built of brick and 
not of granite, i6 unsurpassed in its grace- 
ful lines and fine proportions by any 
church spire in Aberdeen. The West- 
Church, as its name indicated, was the 
westmost of the three, having its entrance 
under the tower; the East Church, as its 
name ako indicated, was the eastmost of 
the three ; while the South Church inter- 



HIGH UNITED FREE CHURCH 



135 



sected the other two. The West and East 
were similar in size and construction, 
each containing 1100 sittings; the South 
was somewhat larger, with 200 sittings 
more. It is with the West Church that 
we are here concerned. 

Rev. (afterwards Dr) Alexander Dyce 
Davidson, when he left the We6t Parish, 
had a large following, and when the Free 
West was opened on 27th January, 1844, 
there was already a large and influential 
congregation. Dr Dyce Davidson 6tood 
in the front rank of the preachers of the 
city in his day, and there was a time of 
prosperity in the congregation. Every- 
thing went well until the year 1865, when 
a crisis suddenly occurred in connection 
with the West Church. The construction 
by the Great North of Scotland Railway 
Company of a line along the Denburn 
valley was believed to have undermined 
the churches and rendered them unsafe 
for occupation. This applied specially 
to the West, which was the nearest to the 
railway line, and the one most likely to be 
affected. Lengthened negotiations took 
place, and ultimately the Railway Com- 
pany purchased the whole joint edifice 
for £12,000. The South and East con- 
gregations re-purchased their respective 
buildings from the Railway Company for 
£3000, each of them thus making a profit 
of £1000 on the transaction. The West 
Church was left for the time unoccupied, 
and the congregation worshipped first in 
the old Gilcomston Church in Huntly 
Street (by arrangement with the Gilcom- 
ston congregation) and afterwards in the 
Music Hall. Meantime proposals were 
being made for building a new church 
farther west in the city, but the feeling 
was by no means unanimous. The con- 
troversy continued throughout the year 
1866, and serious friction occurred in the 
congregation. It was evident that the 
majority supported the westward move- 
ment, but the minority in favour of 
returning to the old church was by no 
mean6 insignificant either in numbers or 
influence, not a few prominent office- 
bearers being included among them. In 
the closing months of 1866 the final deci- 
sion was taken. Dr Davidson declared 
his adherence to the party in favour of a 
new church, and the resolution to build 
was carried by a great majority, steps 
being immediately taken to secure the pre- 
sent site of the We6t United Free Church 
in Union Street. 

The trouble, however, did not end 
here. The minority declined to ac- 



quiesce, and decided to take inde- 
pendent action. To the number of 100 
to 130 they seceded from the Free West 
congregation, among the leaders in the 
movement being Major Ross, Chief Con- 
stable of Aberdeenshire; Mr Batchan, 
tanker; Mr David Mitchell, advocate ; Mr 
Neil Smith, jun. ; Professor Dickson, 
Baillie Berry, and Dr Dyce Brown. The 
old church was purchased from the Rail- 
way Company for £3800, the actual co6t, 
however, being only £1800, the South and 
East Churches generously contributing the 
other £2000, being the amount of their 
profit, as already stated, on their transac- 
tions of sale and repurchase with the 
Railway Company. As some acknowledg- 
ment of the kindness of these sister 
churches, they were granted by the new 
congregation the right to use the hall 
oelow their buildings for one night each 
per week. When the South congregation 
removed, and the East uhurch acquired 
hall accommodation of its own in the 
building thus vacated, this agreement 
came to an end. Some difficulty 

was experienced when application was 
made to the Presbytery for sanction 
to the establishment of a new charge. 
After considerable negotiation — not with- 
out friction — the petitioners succeeded so 
far, the Presbytery sanctioning then 
erection into a preaching station. Rev. 
Dr (afterwards Principal) Brown was 
appointed convener of the special Presby- 
terial Committee to advise with the new con- 
gregation. The church was reopened on 
Sunday, 20th January, 1867, Dr Brown 
preaching in the forenoon, and Rev. David 
Arthur, of Belmont Congregational 
Church, in the afternoon. At a meet- 
ing of the congregation held during the 
following week Rev. Henry M. Williamson, 
of Huntly, was invited to take charge of 
the station, and, having accepted the 
invitation, Mr Williamson preached to the 
congregation for the first time on 3rd 
February, 1867. 

The question as to the name of 
the church gave rise to some dis- 
cussion. A natural desire was felt for 
the retention of the old title of " West " 
in 6ome form or conjunction, and it wa6 
suggested to the Presbytery that the 
designation should be either "The Old 
Free West Church " or " The St Nicholas 
Free West Church," a preference being 
expressed for the former. The Presbytery, 
however, objected, apparently with good 
reason, to the term " West " occurring in 
the name in any conjunction. Finally, 



130 



THE CHllRdHES OF ABERDEEN 



on the suggestion of the Rev. John Adam, 
of the Free South Church, and by the 
sanction of the Presbytery, obtained on 
21st October, 1867, the designation of 
"The Free High Church" was adopted. 
In the interval the congregation had made 
considerable progress. Somewhat strained 
relations existed for a time between the 
dissentients and their former fellow- 
members, but this 6tate of matters gradu- 
ally disappeared. An interesting fact 
may be cited in this connection. On 28th 
January, 1872, Dr Dyce Davidson returned 
to his old church to perform the ceremony 
of the baptism of a son of the minister, 
Rev. Henry W. Bell. This kindly inter- 
change, so significant of the improved 
relations, was a source of great gratifica- 
tion to both congregations concerned. It 
was also a singular, though undesigned, 
coincidence that the pulpit was then 
occupied for the last time, a new one 
taking its place on the succeeding Sunday. 
Tlras it happened that Dr Davidson, who 
had been the first to preach from the 
pulpit, on 27th January, 1844, was the 
last to occupy it twenty-eight years later. 

Under the Rev. H. M. Williamson the 
progress of the Free High congregation 
had been so satisfactory that application 
was made to the General Assembly of 1867 
for permission to have it raised to the 
status of a regular ministerial charge. 
The prayer of the petition was granted by 
the Supreme Court, and in due course Mr 
Williamson, who had been labouring in 
the congregation for five and a half 
months, was formally called to the 
pastorate. Having accepted the call, he 
was inducted on 1st August, 1867, and 
entered on his work as first minister of the 
congregation. 

Mr Williamson had always been noted 
for his strong evangelical tendencies. At 
Huntly he had been prominent as a sup- 
porter of revival movements, and had 
gained some distinction as a speaker in 
connection with such efforts throughout 
the north. On coming to Aberdeen, he 
displayed the same characteristics. He 
possessed in large measure what is known 
as the evangelistic gift, and this pervaded 
all his pulpit work. His preaching was 
fervent, earnest, and direct in appeal. 
From the outset of his ministry in the 
Free High Church there were many signs 
of progress. The membership quickly in- 
creased until there were over 700 names on 
the roll ; while the spiritual life of the 
congregation was at a high level. Mr 
Williamson'6 work, however, wa6 almost 



entirely that of in-gathering ; his ministry 
was too short to permit of the consolida- 
tion of the results. He accepted a call to 
Fisherwick Place Presbyterian Church, 
Belfast, on 17th February, 1870 — two and 
a half years after hi6 induction to the 
Free High. In Belfast, Dr. Williamson 
(for he was afterwards a D.D.) gained 
great influence. He remained there until 
lm death, and became widely known as 
one of the leading evangelical forces in the 
north of Ireland. In 1896 he was called 
to the Moderatorship of the Irish Presby- 
terian Church, and other honours came to 
him. Dr Williamson wa6 a comparatively 
frequent visitor to Aberdeen, and his in- 
terest in the Free High was maintained 
to the end. On several occasions he occu- 
pied his old pulpit, and seemed to derive 
much satisfaction from the renewal of 
association with former members and 
friends. Dr. Williamson was a man of 
earnest and genuine character, and a de- 
voted Christian worker. He was, per- 
haps, not a brilliant, yet, in his own way, 
lie was a potverful preacher— a man of 
strong convictions and consuming zeal. 
He accomplished good work in Aberdeen, 
and some fruite of it remain even unto the 
present. 

On Dr. Williamson's departure, the 
Free High had to endure a somewhat 
lengthened vacancy. An unsuccessful 
attempt was made to secure Rev. George 
D. Low, of Clunie, Perthshire, who after- 
wards came to Aberdeen a6 minister of 
the Free North. A call was subsequently 
addressed to Rev. Henry W. Bel;, of 
Chalmers' Church, Dundee, who had been 
heard by deputies, and who was unani- 
mously recommended by the joint-com- 
mittee of election. The invitation was 
accepted on 9th February, 1871, almost 
exactly a year after the vacancy had oc- 
curred- Mr. Bel! i- a native of Poona. 
India, in the Presidency of Bombay, 
where his father was engaged for a long 
period in the Civil Service. His arte 

course was taken at the Uuiversity of 
Glasgow, where he had a highly-distin- 
guished career. He specially excelled in 
classics and philosophy, taking the degree 
of B.A., with honours in the latter sub- 
ject. On that occasion he was bracketed 
with his intimate friend of those days, 
Dr. George Matheson, the famous blind 
poet-preacher and author, the two occupy- 
ing second place out of a list of 86 who 
took the degree. The following year. Mr. 
Boll took his M.A. degree, and then passed 
on to the Glasgow Free Church College for 



HIGH EXITED FREE CliUliCH 



187 



hi6 theological course. There also he 
scored many successes, and he completed 
his course by standing highest in the exit 
examination and carrying off the chief 
honour of the college, the Clark Fellow- 
ship. Almost immediately on taking 
licence, Mr. Bell was appointed assistant 
to Rev. William Arnot Stirling, of Chal- 
mers' Free Church, Dundee, and, on the 
tragic death of Mr. Stirling some months 
later, he was called to the pastorate of the 
church. In his seven years' ministry, the 
membership of the congregation increased 




Rev. Henry W. Bell, M.A. 

from 130 to 700, and when he left for 
Aberdeen the church was in a flourishing 
and hopeful condition. 

Mr. Bell was inducted to the pastorate 
of the Free High Church on 23rd Feb- 
ruary, 1871, Rev. James S. Candlish, of 
the Free Fast Church (afterwards Pro- 
fessor Candlish, of Glasgow), presiding on 
the occasion, and addressing both minister 
and people. The introductory services on 
the following Sunday were conducted by 
Rev. Dr. William Wilsion, of Free St 
Paul's, Dundee, and Dr. Wilson's fore- 
noon sermon and Mr. Candlish's sermon 
and addresses were afterwards published 
at the request of the office-bearers. Mi- 



Bell maintained a high standard of 
pulpit ability, and continued in the 
active work of the pastorate, dis- 
charging all its duties without assist- 
ance until near the end of 1906. In Feb- 
ruary, 190i, he made an announcement 
that he contemplated resignation of the 
charge either in whole or in part, on the 
completion of the 40th year of his minis- 
terial life. That period elapsed, but in 
the interval the crisis in the United Free 
Church altered the whole aspect of affairs, 
and under the circumstances Mr Bell de- 
cided to abide by his congregation for 
some time at least. At the General 

Assembly in May, 1906, he was granted 
a colleague and successor, and in due 
course the congregation addressed a call 
to Rev. D. M. Munro, of Bainsford 
Church, Falkirk. Mr. Munro was in- 
ducted on 31st January, 1907, and as Mr 
Bell gave up all active duty, the sole 
charge of the congregation passed into 
the hands of the junior colleague. 

In addition to those already mentioned 
as having been associated with the incep- 
tion of the movement for the formation 
of the congregation, the High Church had 
the allegiance of many well-known citizens. 
Amongst these may be mentioned — Colonel 
Kirby, Mr. Robert Stevens, Dr. Gibbon, 
Dr. Crabbe, Mr. James White of Legates- 
den, long an elder and for many years 
congregational treasurer; Mr. Hugh 
Leith, grain merchant, who followed Mr. 
White in the treasurership ; Mr. John 
Macdougall, grain merchant; Mr Alex- 
ander Brand, accountant, one of the 
leaders in the movement which led to the 
founding of the Y.M.C.A. in Aberdeen; 
Surgeon-Major White, and ex-Provost 
Wood, of Banff. These are all deceased, 
and there were others who at one time 
were active members, but are now at- 
tached to other congregations, and ren- 
dering service in various spheres. In this 
connection it may be mentioned that Prin- 
cipal Salmond was for some years an elder 
in the High Church. There has always 
been in the congregation a band of loyal 
and steadfast office-bearers and members, 
whose staunch support and warm adher- 
ence to the congregation have done not a 
little to maintain its position among the 
churches of the city. Among the elders 
of long standing in the present day, Mr 
Stodart J. Mitchell, advocate, is the 
bearer of an honoured name in the annals 
of the High Church and of the denomina- 
tion in Aberdeen. 

The most important development in the 



138 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Rev. D. M. Munro. 

history of the congregation since the 
settlement of Mr Munro has been the 
union effected with the members of St 
Columba Church. When, by the decision 
of the Churches Commission, the congre- 



gation of St Columba were deprived of 
the church, they met for a time in the 
Union Hall, but shortly after the de- 
parture of Rev. A. F. Campbell for Glas- 
gow a proposal was made that they should 
iinite with the congregation of the High 
Church. The proposal was heartily taken 
up in the St Columba congregation, and it 
was encouraged by the ministers and 
people of the High Church, while the 
Presbytery gave its cordial approval. The 
formal amalgamation of the two congrega- 
tions took place on 10th October, 1907, 
the St Columba congregation going over 
to the High Church in a body. The St 
Columba office-bearers retained their 
status in the united congregation, and 
the arrangements for amalgamation pro- 
vided for the appointment of a Gaelic- 
speaking missionary-assistant and the con- 
tinuance, in connection with the High 
Church, of the Gaelic service so long as- 
sociated with St. Columba congregation. 

Under Mr. Munro's vigorous ministry 
the united congregation has been making 
good progress. Himself a true Celt, Mr. 
Munro has gained the warm attachment 
of the Highland element introduced by the 
St. Columba congregation, while his force- 
ful and inspiring preaching has attracted 
manv new members. 



XXXV.-HILTON UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Hilton U.F. Church. 

From 1843 to 1900 this church was known 
as Woodside Free Church. The union ac- 
complished in the latter year made it 
necessary that a new name should be 
chosen, seeing that there were then two 
congregations of the United Free Church 
in the district. After full consideration 
of several suggested titles, that of Hilton 
was selected as being specially appropriate 
and distinctive. 

The Disruption made a great upheaval 
in Woodside. The pulpit of the Parish 
Church was then occupied by Rev. Robert 
Forbes, one of the most popular and highly 
esteemed ministers of his time, and a man 
whose influence was paramount in the dis- 
trict. He had succeeded Rev. Andrew Gray, 
the first minister of the church, who was 
translated to Perth in 1836. All through 
the "Ten Years' Conflict" Mr. Forbes 
took a prominent part in defending the 
Non-Intrusion party, and, naturally, when 
matters came to a crisis in 1843, he left 
the Establishment. So strong was his 
hold over the people that it was no sur- 
prise when the great bulk of the congrega- 
tion followed him in forsaking the Parish 
Church. Those were memorable days in 
Woodside. For several Sundays Mr. Forbes 
preached to great congregations in the 
playground of the school. A wooden 
church was effected on a field behind th<> 
school, but only after considerable diffi- 
culty had been experienced in securing 
the site. Feeling ran high at the time, and 



the Moderate party brought strong pressure 
to bear on Mr. Russell, the owner of the 
feu, to refuse it for such a purpose. After 
much controversy, and chiefly through the 
influence of a wealthy Aberdeen lady, Mrs. 
Spark, the necessary permission was 
secured, and the wooden structure was 
speedily erected. This served the congre- 
gation for 18 months, when, by a strange 
irony of events, they returned as a Free 
Church congregation to the Parish Church 
they had left in protest. This church — a 
commodious building, capable of seating 
1^00 persons — had been erected as a Chapel 
of Ease in 1830. At the Disruption in 
1843 it was still burdened with a debt of 
£1200, but the Moderate party, while 
claiming the building, repudiated the debt. 
Litigation followed, the case ultimately 
going to the Court of Session. The final 
decision was that the church and the debt 
must go together, and as a way out of the 
difficulty the property was exposed for sale. 
Mr. Forbes and his followers were the 
purchasers, and accordingly they left the 
temporary wooden erection and returned 
in January, 1845, to the old church, en- 
deared by many tender ties. In this 
building the congregation still worships, 
although alterations and improvements 
have been carried out from time to time 
in order to bring it more into line with 
modern requirements. 

The ministry of Mr. Forbes was charac- 
terised mainly by its wide range of in- 
fluence. He was more than pastor and 
preachetr. A great variety of subjects in- 
terested him, and many projects claimed 
his sympathy and practical support. One 
of the first ministers to espouse the total 
abstinence cause, he gave unreservedly of 
his time and strength to its advocacy, and 
remained until his death one of its most 
prominent and popular leaders. Mr. 
Forbes was an avowed social reformer when 
social efforts were less fashionable than 
they are to-day. He instituted a savings 
bank, a coal fund, and a clothing society ; 
secured the naming of the streets and the 
numbering of the doors in the village, and 
in many ways rendered excellent service in 
improving the material comifort of the 
people. In another field Mr. Forbes was a 
pioneer. At a time when popular lectures 
were hardly dreamed of, he ventured on a 



140 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



course dealing chiefly with .scientific sub- 
jects, but also embracing instruction in 
history, art, and philosophy. These proved 
Aery successful, and were largely attended. 
Personally, Mr. Forbes was most precise 
and methodical in bis way.s. It was said 
that he was always a week ahead with his 
pulpit work ; he was systematic and pains- 
taking to a degree in his pastoral work, and 
was never known to forget or overlook an 
engagement. His diligence was remark- 
able. In addition to his pulpit and pas- 
toral duties, which always claimed his first 
attention, and his social and temperance 
work and public lectures, he found time to 
use his pen to some advantage. He pub- 
lished an excellent catechism for the use 
of his young communicants, and, later on, 
a manual for parents on the duties de- 
volving upon them in connection with the 
baptism of their children. With great 
pains he also compiled and published an 
excellent digest of the rules and jirocedure 
of the inferior courts of the Church — a book 
which was found most useful by kirk- 
sessions and deacons' courts all over Scot- 
land. 

In the midst of his manifold labours, and 
at a comparatively early age, Mr. Forbes 
was removed by death with a startling sud- 
denness which came as a shock to the com- 
munity. Returning between 10 and 11 
o'clock at night from a meeting of the 
Temperance Committee which had been 
held in the school, he fell on his face among 
the snow within a few yards of the manse 
gate, and there breathed his last. The 
spot on the Old Road (now Clifton Road) 
where this sad event occurred is marked 
by a small granite tablet inserted in the 
wall. Thus there passed away on 2l6t 
October, 1859, in the 48th year of his age 
and the 23rd of his ministry, one who had 
exercised a widespread influence in the dis- 
trict. The tragic circumstances of Mr. 
Forbes's death stirred the community, and 
at the funeral sermon, which was preached 
by Rev. Alexander Spence, of St. Clem- 
ent's, there was an immense congregation, 
the Established Church being closed for the 
day, in order that the members might 
join with their brethren in the Free Church 
in paying a last tribute to the memory of 
one wdio had lived and laboured for Wood- 
side. A short memoir of Mr. Forbes, with 
several of his sermons, was afterwards pub- 
lished, and a marble tablet with suitable 
inscription was erected in the vestibule of 
the church. 

It was not without some difficulty and 
delay that a settlement was made of a 
.successor to Mr. Forbes. Unfortunately, 



there was a keen division of opinion 
on the question, and at one time it 
seemed as if matters would come to 
a deadlock. Rev. Alexander F. Moir, 
M.A., of St. Fergus, was, in course of 
time, elected by a majority of the congre- 
gation, but on account. of the state of feel- 
ing at Woodside he did not see his way to 
accept, although he placed himself in 
the hands of his Presbytery. After 
discussion, the Presbytery of Deer 
decided in favour of Mr. Moir re- 
maining at St. Fergus, to the great 




Rev. Alexander F. Moir, M.A. 

satisfaction of his congregation there. A 
strong majority in the Woodside congre- 
gation determined, however, to carry the 
matter further, and an appeal was inti- 
mated to the Synod. The Synod reversed 
the finding of the Presbytery, and gave in- 
structions for Mr. Moir's translation. 
Accordingly, he was inducted at Woodside 
on 22nd November, 1860. 

Mr. Moir was a native of Strathdon, 
where, in Ms early years, he attended the 
parish school, passing subsequently to Aber- 
deen Grammar School and King's College. 
He studied divinity for two years at Aber- 
deen under Dr. Davidson, of the West 
Church, and Rev. James Bryce, of Gilcom- 
ston, and afterwards at the New College. 



HILTON UNITED FREE CHURCH 



111 



Edinburgh, under Dr. Chalmers, where he 

was the second student of his year. At the 
close of session 1816-47, he was licensed liv 
the Presbytery of Deer, and was called by 
the church at St. Fergus before he was 
at liberty, by the rules then in force, to 
accept it. He therefore served the church 
for a year as a probationer, and was then 
ordained to the charge on 28th December, 
1846. 

When Mr. Moir came to Woodside, in 
the end of I860, he found the congregation 
still keenly divided. It was no easy matter 
to hold the balance between the different 
sections, and many a minister might have 
found the ordeal too much for him. Yet 
Mr. Moir, by his genial tact and his strong 
common-sense, succeeded in overcoming the 
difficulties of the situation, and under his 
influence the party spirit died out more 
speedily than anyone anticipated. To the 
end of his long tenure of the active pas- 
torate the personality of Mr. Moir con- 
tinued to exercise a unifying influence in 
the congregation, and while he gained the 
respect and esteem of the members for the 
manner in which he discharged all the 
duties of his office, there was, perhaps, no 
department in which he excelled more than 
in pastoral work. His presence was always 
welcome in the homes of his people, and he 
was at all times accessible; and many, 
especially amongst those who were brought 
up as young men in the congregation, have 
good cause to remember his kindly words 
and his unaffected interest in their welfare 
and prospects. While spiritual results 
cannot be tabulated, it can be said that 
Mr. Moir laboured assiduously for the 
highest interests of the congregation. Its 
position in material things also improved 
considerably under his charge. He saw the 
debt which the congregation assumed along 
with the property entirely wiped out, and 
a further sum of about £3000 was spent 
on improvements and repairs of various 
kinds. The suite of halls and classrooms 
erected in conjunction with the church was 
opened on 10th November, 1880. After 34 
years' work at Woodside, Mr. Moir was 
feeling the weight of advancing years, and 
in January, 1895, he retired from the 
active pastorate, and was granted a 
colleague and successor. He then removed 
to Cults, where he afterwards resided, al- 
though still retaining a warm interest in 
the affairs of his old congregation, and 
ever ready to respond to any call for his 
services. He lived to celebrate his 
ministerial jubilee, and he became the 
father of the Aberdeen Presbytery. His 
death occurred on 26th September, 1007, 



and with him there passed away one of the 
remaining links between the old order and 
the new— between the Woodside which was 
once a burgh by itself, and the Woodside 
which is now incorporated in the City of 
Aberdeen. He had seen all the develop- 
ments of the district — municipal and other- 
wise -and personally had come to be re- 
garded as one of the landmarks of the 
place. 

Rev. Andrew Dickson, on whom fell the 
choice of the congregation as successor to 




Rev. Andrew Dickson. 

Mr. Moir, is a native of Berwickshire, and 
a student of Edinburgh University. At 
the close of his divinity course at the New 
College, he acted for a short time as 
assistant to Rev. (afterwards Dr.) John 
Kelman in St- John's, Leith, and while 
serving in that capacity he was called to 
Glencaple, Dumfries, where his ordination 
took place in December, 1892. Two years' 
successful work in that rural charge 
followed, until he was translated to Wood- 
side and inducted to the pastorate there 
in January, 1895. On Mr. Dickson, while 
Mr. Moir survived, the entire responsi- 
bility and work of the church fell, and 
he met all demands with a ready 
resourcefulness. An able and effective 



142 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



evangelical preacher and an earnest 
worker, he has exerted a helpful in- 
fluence in the community. The member- 
ship of the congregation has shown a steady 
upward tendency. The various depart- 
ments of Christian activity in which the 
congregation is engaged are maintained 
with zeal and efficiency, and a thoroughly 
healthy tone pervades the whole of the life 
and work of the church. 

Many names might be mentioned of 
those who in byegone days were prominent 
in this congregation. Baillie William 
Hutton was one of its best friends, and 
there were also Mr. John Bonnyman, Mr. 
John Booth, Old Auchmill ; Mr. William 
Booth, Mastrick ; Mr. Alexander Barnett, 
Mr. William Johnston, Mr. John C'atto. 
Mr. Robert Gill, Bankhead ; Mr. George 



Lawrence, gas inspector ; and Mr. John 
Johnstone. To-day the senior elder is Mr. 
George F. Duthie, whose work as an 
educationist will not be soon forgotten in 
Woodside ; and next to him in length of 
service is Mr. William Gunn, Stoneywood, 
the respected session clerk : whilst amongst 
the elders closely following in seniority are 
well-known men in the district, such as Mr. 
Robert Hall, chemist, and Mr. William 
Porter, Grandholm. Altogether, the 
session and deacons' court are staffed by 
a body of capable men. The office-bearers 
arc thoroughly representative of the con- 
gregation, and the membership embraces 
many different classes — two facts which go 
far to ensure the continued vitality of a 
church situated in an industrial com- 
munity. 



XXXVI— HOLBURN UNITED FREE CHUKCH. 




Holburn U.F. Church. 



The minister of Holburn Parish at the 
time of the Disruption was the. Rev 
William L. Mitchell, who had been 
ordained to the charge in 1838. An in- 
teresting incident is' related concerning 
Mr. Mitchell's first visit to Aberdeen. A 
native of Dundee, he acted for some time 
after the close of his Arts and Divinity 
course as missionary and preacher in 
Chapelshade Church in that city, and when 
thus engaged he became a candidate for 
the vacancy at Holbum. The journey 
from Dundee to Aberdeen was a greater 
undertaking in those days when there was 
no railway connection. The only con- 
veyance was the mail coach, and, un- 
fortunately for Mr. Mitchell, a severe 
snowstorm came on soon after he left Dun- 
dee, with the result that after a tedious 
journey the coach was snowed up at Stone- 
haven. This was late on Saturday after- 
noon, and rather unsettling for the 
preacher who had to appear as a candidate 
on the following clay. Not to be outdone, 
Mr. Mitchell travelled on foot to Aber- 
deen, and although he arrived in an ex- 
hausted condition, he was able to occupy 
the Holburn pulpit according to arrange- 
ment, and his ministrations proved so 
acceptable that he was unanimously elected 
to the vacancy. 

Mr. Mitchell was one of the most 
evangelical of the parish ministers in Aber- 



deen in pre-Disruption days. This was 
evidenced in various ways, and not least 
by his friendship with the famous William 
C. Burns. When most of the city pulpits 
were closed against the ministrations of 
the band of evangelists led by Mr. Burns, 
the minister of Holburn not only invited 
them to preach in his church, but aided 
and encouraged them in every possible 
way. Before the fateful year of 1843, it 
was clearly seen where his sympathies lay 
in the ecclesiastical struggle, and it was no 
surprise when he "came out " at the Dis- 
ruption. He took part in the historic- 
march in Edinburgh, walking arm in arm 
with Dr. John Baxter, his college com- 
panion, to the first Free Church Assembly 
in Canonmills. Returning to Aberdeen, 
he found that practically the whole of his 
congregation had resolved to follow him. 
The Parish Church was quitted, and only 
a handful of members remained to carry on 
its work. 

His followers had to find a temporary 
place of worship, and a large wooden 
church was erected with all possible speed 
in the hollow between Justice Mills, Union 
Glen, and the Hardgate. There a large 
aiul influential congregation worshipped 
from Sunday to Sunday, and there were 
many evidences of prosperity and vigour. 
A site for a church having been secured at 
the corner of Bon-Accord Terrace and 
Justice Mill Lane, a church was erected, 
which, with the exception of the three 
joint churches, the South, East, and West, 
was probably the best ecclesiastical edifice 
of which the Free Church in Aberdeen 
could then boast. It was a commodious 
structure, and from the first it was filled 
by an almost overflowing congregation. 
Mr. Mitchell has been described as 
"singularly rude and uncouth in his style 
of preaching, and he seemed to plume him- 
self on his unrefined manner." If this 
were so, the matter of his sermons must 
have largely atoned for the style. He had 
at anyrate the reputation of being a sound 
and solid Calvinistie preacher, and there 
can be no doubt he exercised a deep and 
lasting influence. Both in his pulpit and 
pastoral work he was conscientious and 
earnest, and he had his reward in the 
large and vigorous congregation he kept 
around him, many of his members being 
men of standing and influence in various 
walks of life in the community. In the 
Presbytery, Mr. Mitchell was always a 



1 II 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



great favourite. He had no equal in swift 
rejoinder and keen repartee, and while lie 
was an adept at sharp and caustic- re- 
marks, yet ne was warm-hearted and kind 
to a degree, and not infrequently his in- 
fluence was of a conciliatory nature. Mr. 
Mitchell was a .strong opponent of the pro- 
posed union with the TJ.P. Church ; he 
vigorously opposed the introduction of 
hymns; and in the famous Robertson- 
Smith controversy he was on the con- 
servative side. Mr. Mitchell continued in 
the active discharge of all the duties of 
his pastorate until 1875, when he applied 
for the appointment of a colleague and 
successor, and Rev. Andrew M'Queen was 
elected to the position. For other five 
years Mr Mitchell took occasional duty in 
Holburn Church when his health per- 
mitted, but his strength gradually failed 
until his death on 15th May, 1880. His 
loss was mourned by his co-presbyters and 
by his fellow-citizens, but most of all by his 
attached congregation, which he had 
served during the whole of his ministerial 
career, his connection with it under vary- 
ing circumstances extending to a period of 
42 years. 

Rev. Andrew M'Queen, B.D., who was 
ordained as colleague and successor to Mr. 
Mitchell in 1875, has held the sole ministry 
since 1880. The outstanding event of his 
pastorate has been the removal of the 
congregation to the present church in 
Great Western Road, which he was so 
largely instrumental in erecting and deal- 
ing of debt. In course of time, with the 
rapid extension of the city and the rise of 
suburban charges, the old Holburn site 
in Bon- Accord Terrace came to be recog- 
nised as less suitable for the development 
of the congregation. The Presbytery had 
also been considering the advisability of 
starting a church extension movement in 
the Mannofield direction, and ultimately 
it was arranged that the Holburn con- 
gregation should move westwards to occupy 
the new district. The old church was dis- 
posed of (having since been used by the 
Catholic Apostolic body), and on the ex- 
cellent site secured in Great Western 
Road the present church was built 
at a cost of £6000. The new 

building, from plans by Messrs. Brown 
and Watt, architects, was formally opened 
in October, 1894, a dedication sei'vice be- 
ing held on a week evening, and special 
services on the following Sunday. Since 
its removal to the west-end, the congrega- 
tion has prosecuted its work along the 
usual lines. 



A notable feature of Holburn congrega- 
tion, particularly in the earlier years of 
its history, was its very active and vigorous 
Home Mission work. At first the mission 
premises were in the Hardgate, where a 
suitable building was erected, in which a 
large amount of effective work was carried 




Rev. Andrew M'Queen, B.D. 

on by means of various organisations and 
agencies. On the hall being acquired by 
the School Board in connection with an 
extension of premises, the Holburn congre- 
gation built the Mission Hall in Holburn 
Street, which is now connected with the 
Ferryhill l.F. Church. In that building. 
so suitably situated, the work was sub- 
sequently conducted, but when the con- 
gregation removed to the new church it 
was resolved to abandon the mission, and 
the Mission Hall was then sold to the 
Ferryhill congregation. Another interest- 
ing feature was the number of young men 
who were connected with the church by 
means of its Young Men's Association, and 
in other capacities. Several of these 
have since found their way either to the 
ministry at home or the mission field 
abroad, and the names are recalled, 
amongst others, of Rev. James Harvey. 
Ladv Glenorchv's Church, Edinburgh : 



New Aberdeen Minister. 




#.*/* 



- f 9'i 



[Photo. Hardie, Union Street. 



The Hov. John Niven, United Free Church, 
Glass, Huntly, whose induction as colleague and 
successor to the Rev. Andrew M'Queen, 
minister of Holburn United Free Church, Abcr- j 
deen, took place yesterday afternoon. 



HOLBURN UNITED FREE CHURCH 



145 



Rev. Alexander Badenoch, Abbey Church, 
Dunfermline; Rev. William Beveridge, 
New Deer ; Rev. James W. Duncan, Las- 
sodie; Rev Joseph Fraser, Kinneff ; Rev. 
James Dewar, Kalaba.se, South Africa; 
Rev. Alexander Tomory, and Professor 
Alexander Thomson, of the United Free 
Church College, Calcutta; and Mr Wil- 
liam Summers, superintendent of the 
British and Foreign Bible Society for 
Spain, Portugal, and North Africa. Rev. 
G. C. Milne, of Woodeide Congregational 
Church, was connected with the congrega- 
tion in his early days, and other names 
might be meiitioned of those who at one 
time or another had associations with Hol- 
burn Church, and who are now doing good 
service in various spheres. The large 
portion of tire ministers sent out by the 
congregation were brought up under the 
ministry of Mr. M'Queen, who encouraged 
them in many ways and took great in- 
terest in their careers. This was another 
feature of his pastoral work which com- 
mended him to the members of the church. 
It is one of the proudest boasts that 
among the ministers associated with the 
congregation there can be included the 
name of Rev. Dr. Walter C. Smith, 
author of " Olrig Grange," the eminent 
poet preacher of the United Free Church, 
who in pre-Disruption days was connected 
with the congregation during the ministry 
of Mr. Mitchell. Another member of more 
than local fame was the Rev. Dr. Daniel 
Dewar, afterwards Principal of Marischal 



College, who, in his day, was the acknow- 
ledged leader of the evangelical party in 
the city. 

In the membership and in the ranks of 
the office-bearers there were to be found 
not a few citizens who were known and 
respected throughout the whole com- 
munity. Mr. James Smith, shoemaker, a 
natural orator who was much in demand on 
public platforms; Mr. A. D. Milne, Mr. 
Alexander Badenoch, a prominent and 
honoured temperance worker in the city ; 
M r. John Williamson, Mr. James David- 
son, Mr. William Keith, slater; Mr. Alex- 
ander Allan, coal merchant; Mr. George 
T. Harvey, Mr. Charles Michie, Univer- 
sity Library, Baillie Adamson of Norwood, 
and Mr. John M'Kelvie, city assessor, to 
name only a few, were associated with the 
church either in the management of its 
affairs or in the furtherance of its con- 
gregational and Home Mission work. 

With such a record it is evident that 
Hoi burn Church has worthy traditions. 
Its past recalls the memories of many good 
men and true, and of much earnest en- 
deavour. It occupies to-day a most 
desirable position, commanding the whole 
of a growing residential district where 
there can hardly fail to be progress and 
development. A notable fact in connection 
with this congregation is that it has taken 
part in building four churches — Holburn 
Parish, the Wooden Church, Free Holburn 
in Bon- Accord Terrace, and the present 
church. 




Old Free Holburn Church, Bon-Accord Terrace. 



XXXVII— JOHN KNOX UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




John Knox U P. Church. 

The minister of John Knox Parish 
Church, when the Disruption took place in 
1843, was the Rev. John Stephen, who had 
then been settled in the charge for 
five years. Mr Stephen had not 
begun Ills studies for the Uni- 
versity until past the usual, age, 
and he was in his thirty-eighth year at the 
time of his ordination and induction to 
John Knox Church. He had already, how- 
ever, become well known as a preacher in 
the city, having in 1837 conducted one of 
the services in the West Church every Sun- 
day for three months during the vacancy 
between the resignation of Dr. Glennie and 
the induction of Dr. Dyce Davidson. From 
the outset of his work in John Knox Parish 
he exercised great influence over the con- 
gregation, and the prosperity and activities 
of the church were fully maintained. At 
the time of his settlement the Ten Years' 
Conflict was in progress, and was steadily 
becoming more acute. Mr. Stephen's at- 
titude was clear from the outset. Hie 
sympathies were entirely with the Non- 
Intrusion party, and he kept his congrega- 
tion fully informed on the questions at 
issue. Returning from the Convocation of 
1842, he called his people together, and ex- 
plained to them the whole circumstances 
carrying their sympathies with him. When 
the famous General Assembly of 1843 met 
in Edinburgh, Mr. Stephen, not having 
been elected a member for that year, could 
only look on, but when the fateful decision 
was made, he immediately intimated hi i 
adherence to the Free Protesting Church, 
and in clue course signed the document-; 
severing his connection with the Stato 
Church. 



The immediate course of events in John 
Knox Parish was somewhat different to 
that pursued in some of the other churches 
in the city. The ministers of the six city 
parishes, on declaring their determination 
to join the Free Church party, at once 
vacated their churches. John Knox's, 
however, wa-a "quoad sacra" church, and. 
as such, it was claimed that it stood on a 
different footing. At anyrate, Mr. Stephen 
and his congregation continued to occupy 
the Parish Church until they were com- 
pelled to leave it nearly two months after 
the Disruption. 

An appeal was made to the Presbytery, 
the petition claiming the church buildings 
for the Free Church being signed by 
988 members at a special meeting of the 
congregation, the signatures being after- 
wards increased to upwards of 1100. Ul- 
timately the Presbytery — advised, it was 
said, by the Law Committee of the As- 
sembly, that they were legally entitled to 
claim the church and schools — decided 
against the minister and his people. On 
Sunday, 23rd July, 1843, Mr. Stephen ap- 
peared for the last time in the pulpit of 
the Parish Church, and the service on that 
occasion was attended by great crowds 
Not only were the proceedings inside the 
building of peculiar and affecting interest 
but the scene in the street outside was also 
memorable. At the close of the service the 
people remained in a body outside the build- 
ing until they saw it left for the last time 
by their minister, who "was saluted with 
melancholy and respectful solemnity as he 
passed through the crowd on his way 
home." 

During the ensuing week a meeting of 
the congregation — attended by 1200 — was 
held in the premises of Messrs. Rout ledge 
and Sons, rope and twine manufac- 
tuiers, Catherine Street; and at this 
gathering Mr. Stephen was presented with 
a pulpit Bible and Psalm Book to replace 
those which had been left in the old chureh 
The proceedings were marked by great 
enthusiasm, and the decision to erect a new 
church and schools in Gerrard Street was 
unanimously approved. Pending the erec- 
tion of the building, it was arranged that 
the services should be held in the Temper- 
ance Hall. George Street. 

On the site selected in Gerrard Street a 
plain but substantial church — with accom- 
modation for 1100 to 1200— was built. The 
congregation resolved to continue the 





MIDMAK MINISTER. 



CALLED TO JOHN KNOX U.F. 
CHURCH, ABERDEEN. 

At a meeting of Aberdeen United Free 
Church Presbytery in the U.F. College. Aber- 
deen, on Monday a deputation was present 
from John Knox Kirk-Session, Deacon's 
Court, and congregation to prosecute the call 
to Rev. John A. Martin, Midmar. 

The Clerk (Mr Semple), in introducing the 
deputation, said that the call had now been 
signed by 517 members and 54- adherents, and 
the Presbytery would see how hearty it was. 
The .meetings had been harmonious in every 
way, and the call to which they had to put 
their itimes was one which went forth with 
every hope of ciuccess. 

Mr J. P. (Jill, for the Kirk-Session, said this 
was a unanimous call, and it was unnecessary 
for him to say how much they had set their 
minds on securing Mr Martin. They were 
satisfied that in Mr Martin they had a man 
who would prove a worthy successor to the 
present minister of John Knox, and who had 
all the capacity and energy required to carry 
on the work of the congregation. 

It was moved that the call be sustained and 
passed on tp the Court of which Mr Martin 
was a member, and this was agreed to. 

The Clerk was appointed to prosecute the 
call before Deeside Presbytery, and it was 
agreed to have a special meeting on Friday, 
September 17, to get the report and see what 
further could be done. 



JOHN KNOX UNITED FREE CHURCH 



147 



educational work which had been associated 
with the Parish Church, and a boys' school 
was built on one side of the new church, 
and a girls' on the other. These schools 
were carried on with vigour and success 
until the Education Act of 1872 came into 
force, and rendered their existence no 
longer necessary. So rapidly was the work 
of erection accomplished that the church 
was opened for public worship on 31st 
March, 1814, Mr. Stephen officiating on 
the occasion. 

For the next thirty years and more the 
history of the church was practically the 
history of Mr Stephen's life and work. The 
strong hold he had gained over the people 
in the early years of his ministry was con- 
firmed and deepened in the Disruption 
struggle, and in a very large measure it 
was maintained to the end of his life. 
Situated in a populous district, the church 
became the centre of a large amount of 
active effort. A great congregation was 
built up, and it has remained one of the 
largest in the city. Mr. Stephen was a 
man of strong personality and great 
earnestness. As a preacher he is said to 
have in some respects borne a resemblance 
to Dr. Kidd. He was trained both in the 
University and privately under that famous 
but erratic divine, and may have been un- 
consciously influenced by his style. Cer- 
tainly, at times he was almost as uncon- 
ventional in the pulpit as the minister of 
Gilcomston. His preaching, however, was 
mainly characterised by its sympathetic 
and earnest presentation of truth, while in 
pastoral work he excelled — his interest in 
the families of his flock and his watch- 
ful care over them being one of the special 
features of his influence. Many young 
men — including not a few students now in 
the ministry — found in him a helpful friend 
and a wise counsellor. Mr. Stephen con- 
tinued to discharge all the active duties of 
the pastorate until he had reached nearly 
four-score years, but at last, on 26th 
March, 1878, Rev. John Tainsh, formerly 
at Strichen, was inducted as his colleague 
and successor. The colleagueship was a 
mutually pleasant and happy one, but it 
was destined to be of short duration. On 
17th June, 1881, Mr. Stephen passed to his 
rest, his death being deeply mourned by his 
attached congregation, and by many others 
throughout the community in which for so 
long a period he had been a prominent 
figure. He left behind him several volumes 
of sermons and expositions, and after his 
death a volume was published, under -the 
title of " Memorials of a Faithful Pastor." 
containing a memoir by Rev. William 



Selbie, of Maryculter, and a number of Mr. 
Stephen's special discourses. 

Rev. John Tainsh, who was colleague to 
Mr. Stephen from 1878 to 1881, continued 
in the sole pastorate of John Knox Church 
until 1883, when he accepted a call to the 
historic Tron Church, Glasgow, where he 
still labours. Although Mr. Tainsh's con- 
nection with the congregation lasted only 
for about five years, he accomplished good 
and lasting service. His vigour as a 
preacher, his energy as a pastor, and par- 
ticularly his faculty of attracting the 
young, made a marked impression. His 
business capacity also was of considerable 




Old Free John Knox Church. 

help to the congregation, and this feature 
has been even more apparent in his subse- 
quent career, and has proved of consider- 
able value to the Church at large. In the 
Assembly committees Mr. Tainsh has been 
a diligent worker, and his efforts for the 
improvement of the service of praise, first 
as colleague and latterly as successor to 
Professor A. B. Bruce in the convenership 
of the committee, were largely instrumental 
in the production of the Church Hymnary. 
Mr. Tainsh came to John Knox Church 
when the weight of advancing years was 
beginning to tell on Mr. Stephen, and 
threw himself into its varied activities with 
all the vigour of a young man, and im- 
parted to it fresh life and energy. His pas- 
torate, though a short one, was not with- 
out its influence in the history of the con- 
gregation. 

Mr. Tainsh was succeeded in the pas- 
torate of John Knox Church by the present 
minister, Rev. Robert Macleod, who was 
inducted to the charge in 1883. Mr. Mac- 
leod is a native of Caithness, and he re- 
ceived his University training in Aberdeen. 
After completing his Arts course, he acted 

K2 



I IH 



Till] CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



as a teacher in the Gymnasium, Old Aber- 
deen, for five years, during which time he 
also studied Divinity in the Free Church 
College. On completing his theological 
curriculum, he was appointed, on the re- 
commendation of Principal Lumsden, to a 
new mission station in Dundee, which has 
since developed into Ogilvie Church, one 
of the largest of the denomination in that 
city. After a year of hard but highly suc- 
cessful work in this pioneer cause, Mr. 




Rev. Robert Macleod. 

Macleod accepted a call to the church at 
Clunie in Perthshire, where he was or- 
dained in 1873. After a ministry of six 
years in that beautiful country district, 
he was called to Keith, where he laboured 
with great acceptance and success from 
1879 to 1883, when he was translated to 
Aberdeen. John Knox Church under Mr. 
Macleod has not only maintained, but con- 
siderably improved its position. The mem- 
bership at the date of hi6 induction was 
737 ; to-day, notwithstanding the westward 
tendency in the city, and other causes likely 
to adversely affect it, the communion roll 
contains over 900 names. The congrega- 
tion is fully organised, and its numerous 
agencies are carried on with exceptional 



energy and success. A noticeable feature 
is the great number of young people who 
are associated in various aspects with the 
church. The Sunday morning Fellowship 
Association for young men and women is 
one of the most successful in the city. Mr. 
Macleod has largely reserved his time and 
strength for the duties of his own pas- 
torate. In public work outside he has never 
taken a prominent part, but in concent ra- 
ting his efforts he has not been without his 
reward. The position of the congregation 
to-day is a testimony to the effectiveness of 
his pastorate. In the pulpit Mr. Macleod 
is an eloquent and forceful preacher. His 
discourses are able and evangelical, and 
his delivery is often characterised by Celtic 
fire and fervour. The outstanding in- 
cident in Mr. Macleod's ministry has, of 
course, been the erection of the fine new 
church and halls on the old site. The new 
church — an imposing edifice costing about 
£6000 — was opened by Dr. Alexander 
Whyte, of Edinburgh, in January, 1900. 

In the course of its history, John Knox 
Church has given several of its sons to the 
ministry. The list of those who were 
"brought up" in the congregation, or 
were associated with it in their youthful 
days, includes the names of Rev. Alexander 
Wishart, Forgue ; Rev. Mr. Barclay, Liver- 
pool ; Rev. John Smith, Demerara ; Rev. 
James A. Jaffray, Blackburn ; Rev. Alex- 
ander Forbes, pioneer missionary in 
Canada . Rev. George Williams, of Norric- 
ston. Stirling, and others. The church has 
had from time to time in its membership 
men well known in the community. In the 
Disruption difficulties one of the best 
friends of the congregation was Mr. James 
Garden, advocate (father of Mr. James 
Murray Garden), and amongst those who at 
various times in its subsequent history were 
identified with it were Mr. Henry Brechin 
(one of the most prominent trades coun- 
cillors of hi6 day), Mr. J. H. Bisset, 
builder; Mr. William Mitchell, postmaster: 
Mr. James Cran, Gas Office ; Mr. 
Duncan M. Smith, and Baillie Young. 

The membership of the congregation is 
almost exclusively composed of the work- 
ing classes, and therein lies one of the 
main elements of its strength. John Knox 
Church has exerted in the past, and is 
exerting to-day. a wide influence for good, 
but, perhaps, the greatest service it has 
rendered to the denomination in Aberdeen 
has been in proving that it is possible to 
maintain even in the very centre of the 
city and largely on the old lines, a large, 
strong, and flourishing congregation of the 
common people. 



XXXVIII.— MELVILLE UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Melville D.F. Church. 

Perhaps no congregation in Aberdeen 
has had a more changeful career than that 
which is worshipping to-day in Melville 
United Free Church. It has witnessed 
many strange ecclesiastical developments, 
and its history is bound up with several 
denominations. Leaving the Established 
Church in 175Q, its founding marked the 
origin of the Secession in Aberdeen, the 
movement which in later years led to the 
formation of the United Presbyterian 
Church. The congregation was originally 
attached to the Burgher section of the 
Secession, and when the Burgher split took 
place over the Old and New Lights con- 
troversy it adhered to the Old Light Synod. 
At a further stage in its history it returned 
to the Established Church, leaving it again, 
however, to join the Free Church, and 
merging with it into the larger body of 
the United Free Church of Scotland. Estab- 
lished Church, Burgher, Old Light 
Burgher, Established Church, Free Church, 
United Free Church— surely this is a re- 



cord of denominational development it 
would be difficult to surpass. 

It is generally conceded that Rev. John 
Bisset, of the East Parish Church, was the 
father of the Secession in Aberdeen. Mr. 
Bisset, although he made several overtures 
to the Secession leaders, never formally 
allied himself with the movement. Yet 
his sympathies were wholly in that direc- 
tion, and before his death in 1756 he 
advised his followers to cast in their lot 
with it. They left the Established Church 
in two parties— one joining the Burgher 
Secession and founding the present Mel- 
ville congregation in 1757, and the other 
seeking admission to the Anti-Burgher 
Secession and founding in 1777 the con- 
gregation known to-day as that of Belmont 
Street U.F. Church. 

The Burghers secured a place of worship 
in Weigh-house Square, and on 4th 
January, 1757, two months after Mr. 
Bisset's death, the Presbytery of Perth 
and Dunfermline had their petition under 
consideration, and Mr. Shirra, of Kirk- 
caldy, was sent as pulpit supply for several 
Sundays. In course of time a call was 
addressed to Rev. Alexander Dick, a 
preacher who had ju6t completed his course 
of training under the Burgher Synod. Mr. 
Dick was also called by Torphichen, and 
the Synod had to decide which invitation 
he ought to accept. By a great majority 
the Aberdeen call was preferred, although 
it is said that Mr. Dick had considerable 
difficulty in acquiescing. Yet he must 
afterwards have acknowledged the wisdom 
of the choice, for his ministry in Aberdeen 
was a long and eminently prosperous one. 
He was ordained on 7th December, 1758, 
and the congregation soon began to flourish 
under his care. The numbers greatly in- 
creased, many of the best known families 
in the town becoming connected with the 
new cause, and in 1772 a new and more 
commodious church, with 700 sittings, was 
erected in Netherkirkgate. The cost, 
which amounted to £500, was met by sub- 
scriptions at the time, and what remained 
was cleared off from the proceeds of the 
seat rents. A house for the minister was 
afterwards built on the same piece of 
ground. Mr. Dick continued to carry on 
the work of the charge until his death in 
17th February, 1793, in the 64th year of 
his age and the 35th of his ministry. In 



150 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



a memoir prefixed to " Sermons and Notes 
of Sermons" preached by him and pub- 
lished in 1852, it is stated that, though 
afflicted with nervous weakness during the 
last years of his life, he was only laid aside 
from public duty the Sunday before his 
death. Mr. Dick, as the first Secession 
minister in Aberdeen, was an honour to 
the movement. He compelled respect even 
from those who had no sympathy with his 
sect. His memory is perpetuated by a 
marble tablet in the vestibule of the pre- 
sent Melville Church, and by a handsome 
monument erected by his congregation over 
his grave in St. Nicholas Churchyard, the 
inscription recording that he preached the 
Gospel with primitive simplicity to a people 
who honoured and loved him, and that his 
life was a perpetual commentary on the 
purity of his doctrine. 




First Melville Church, Weigh-house Square. 

A crisis occurred in connection with the 
appointment of a successor to Mr. Dick. 
A call to Rev. William Brunton, of New- 
battle, was presented to the Presbytery 
with the signatures of 210 members and 30 
adherents. A section of the congregation, 
however, had set their hearts on Rev. 
John Dick, of Slateford, a son of the 
former minister, and although defeated in 
the voting, they carried their opposition 
to the Presbytery, and lodged a protest 
signed by 64 members against the call to 
Mr. Brunton being sustained. The Pres- 
bytery sustained the call, but the minority 
would not acquiesce. They applied forth- 
with for disjunction, and went out to form 
St. Nicholas Lane congregation, which now 
worships in St. Nicholas U.F. Church, 
I'nion (irove. 

Mr. Brunton was ordained on 22nd April, 
1795, but he soon found himself in a nest 
of troubles. When the controversy 
between the Old and New Lights began 
to disturb the peace of the Church the 
congregation adopted the conservative posi- 



tion, but Mr. Brunton favoured relaxation. 
The result was that his elders refused to 
take part with him in the observance of 
the Sacrament. They next went the 
length of forbidding him to assist any of 
his brethren at communions, and this was 
followed in 1798 by a petition to have the 
relation between them and their minister 
dissolved. Petitions were also presented 
by 40 or 50 friends in his favour, and 
matters were becoming confused. At last 
four elders, the leaders of the opposition, 
who had been laid under suspension some 
months before, were cut off from the fel- 
lowship of the church, and Mr. Brunton 
was left without a session. In the end the 
majority withdrew their petition, but the 
contest was renewed in the courts of law 
over the disposal of the property. Mr. 
Brunton still occupied the pulpit, and an 
attempt to close the door against him was 
circumvented by altering the locks. The 
Sheriff decided in favour of the Old Lights, 
and the Court of Session, on the case being 
appealed, confirmed his judgment. The 
case was decided on 13th May, 1801. and 
on 3rd September Mr. Brunton gave in the 
demission of his charge. The pastoral tie 
was dissolved on 15th December, 1801, and 
Mr. Brunton removed to Dundee. For a 
time he was engaged in teaching, but after- 
wards, with the Presbytery's sanction, 
undertook engagements for pulpit supply. 
In 1820 he emigrated to Canada, and after 
preaching in various places he undertook, 
in 1831, the pastoral care of the congrega- 
tion at La Chute, of which he was minister 
at his death in 1839. 

The congregation had now to suffer a 
long vacancy. Strife and turmoil had told 
upon the members, for none of the three 
unsuccessful calls issued during this period 
had more than 165 signatures, including 
adherents. After five years a settlement 
was effected by the acceptance of a call 
addressed to Rev. William Primrose, a 
preacher from Kincardine-on-Forth. Mr. 
Primrose was ordained on 13th August, 
1806, and during his 60 years' occupancy 
of the pastorate the Melville congregation 
passed through several important stages in 
its history. For a number of years there 
could have been no progress, for in 1837 
the membership was returned at 160, and 
the stipend was the same as at Mr. Prim- 
rose's settlement— viz., £100, with £20 for 
house rent. In 1839 both minister and 
congregation forsook their Secession con- 
nection and sought admission to the Estab- 
lished Church. Their petition was granted. 
and in that year Melville was created a 



INDIVIDUAL COMMUNION CUPS, 
Used in MciviHe U.F. Church. 



The special feature ot the summer communion 
service in Melville United Free Church, Aber- 
deen, yesterday, was tho introduction of indi- 
vidual communion cups, which are now in use 
in several congregations in the city. There 
was a large congregation. The Rev. James 
Muir, minister of the congregation, officiated, 
and preached, an impressive and eloquent ser- 
mon from John xii, 21 — " We would see Jesus." 
The communion service passed off with perfect 
smoothness, and many of the communicants 
| subsequently expressed themselves as well 
I pleased with the change. In the course of a 
I post-communion address, Mr Muir spoke from 
the text Exodus xxiv.', 11 — "They saw God, 
and did eat and drink." . • 

£-e — W/'ih. 



i 



YORK PRESBYTERIAN CHURQH. 

Memorial to Rev. J. H. Collie, 
of Aberdeen. 

In the Presbyterian Church of York on Sun- 
day, three stained glass windows were unveiled 
to perpetuate the memory of the Rev. James 
Hunter Collie, first minister of the church, and 
that of two famous Scottish regiments which 
have been prominently identified with the 
church in recent years, the Royal Scots Greys 
and the Royal (42nd) Highlanders, Black Watch. 
The windows were provided by Mrs Collie 
(widow) and family, and were formally pre- 
sented by Mr John Collie (son), Liverpool. 

The late Mr Collie was a native of Aberdeen, 
and before proceeding to York laboured suc- 
cessfully in the city. The Rev. Dr Bruce, 
Banff, in a letter, which was read at the cere- 
mony on Sunday, regretting his inability to be 
present, paid a high tribute to Mr Collie's 
work in Aberdeen. "In Aberdeen during the 60's 
and 70's," Dr Bruce says, "Mr Collie exercised 
a very wonderful power over young men and 
women. Melville Church used to be crowded in 
the evening with the youth of the city, listen- 
ing with looks of great expectancy and hope 
to the preacher's thrilling exposition of the 
Scriptures." 

On behalf of the military, Major Dingwall 
Fordyce returned thanks for the gifts unveiled 
that day in memory of the Royal Scots Greys 
and the Black Watch. 



"•ST 



ft'/'f 



MELVILLE UNITED FREE CHURCH 



151 



' ' quod sacra ' ' Parish Church. Four years' 
connection with the Establishment sufficed, 
for when the Disruption of 1843 occurred 
the Melville congregation, actuated, per- 
haps, by its first principles, went out in a 
body and proclaimed its adherence to the 
new Free Church of Scotland. After this 
further change in its ecclesiastical position, 
Melville Church had other 23 years of the 
ministry of Mr. Primrose, his death taking 
place in 1860. The manner of man he was 
may be inferred from his hold over the 
congregation, which remained practically 
intact under three changes of denomina- 
tion. His influence must have been largely 
a personal one, but of his pulpit appear- 
ances it has been testified that "he had 
not only clear views of the Gospel, but was 
correct in expression, and very fervent in 
delivery." During the closing years of his 
ministry he was unable to officiate with 
any regularity, and the congregation fell 
off considerably. Late in 1866, Rev. 
James H. Collie, M.A., was appointed 
assistant, and on 7th March, 1867, he was 
ordained to the pastorate of the congrega- 
tion in succession to Mr. Primrose. Mr. 
Collie was a son of the congregation, and 
he served it in the ministry with acceptance 
and success for over eight years. The re- 
vival movement in Scotland in the early 
'seventies spread to Aberdeen during Mr. 
Collie's ministry in Melville, and he threw 
himself into it with whole-hearted earnest- 
ness- He gathered around him a band of 
devoted workers, and there was a great 
ingathering to the membership of the 
church. In a sense, Melville congregation 
still bears the impress of Mr. Collie's 
ministry. The evangelistic sympathies it 
gained then and the practical interest it 
acquired in home mission and general 
aggressive work have never left it, but are 
among its distinguishing features to-day. 
Mr. Collie left in 1875, and was afterwards 
minister of the English Presbyterian 
Church at Rootle, Liverpool, for many 
year.'-. 

The vacancy in the pastorate was speedily 
filled by a call being addressed to the Rev. 
James Masson, of Saline, Fifeshire. Mr. 
Masson came to Aberdeen with an ex- 
perience of eight years' successful work in 
the ministry after a distinguished career at 
college. He found Melville congregation 
when it had reaped the results of the re- 
vival, and the work that lay to his hand 
was that of solidifying rather than of ex- 
tending. In this he was amply successful. 
The church in Correction Wynd to which 
the congregation had removed from 



Netherkirkgate required extension and re- 
novation, and soon after Mr. Masson's 
settlement the building had to be tem- 
porarily vacated. The way in which the 
members held together during the trying 
time of exile when the services were held 
in the Song School, in Union Street, was 
n testimony to the depth and strength of 
Mr. Masson's influence. He was in some 




Second Melville Church, Correction Wynd. 

respects peculiarly fitted for the special 
work he had to do in Melville. " His 
preaching," it has been said, "was just 
such a combination of evangelical, doc- 
trinal, and practical teaching as is required 
for the making of an all-round, manly, and 
robust type of Christian life. It was 
always sane and sappy, always pointed and 
plain. He was faithful and helpful in the 
pulpit, frank and approachable in private, 
and tender and thoughtful as a woman 
with those for whom the waters had 
deepened, and who were tasting the bitters 
of life." During the most of his ministry 
in Aberdeen Mr. Masson had to struggle 
with ill-health, although he never allowed 
this to affect his preaching. The strain, 
however, was severe, and there was, per- 
haps, !ittle surprise, although sincere re- 
gret, when he accepted in 1884 a call to the 
church at Coupar-Angus. There he 
laboured until April, 1904, when the tidings 
of his death came with the keen sense of 
a personal loss to those in Aberdeen who 
had, 20 years previously, enjoyed the bene- 
fits of his ministry. 

On Mr. Masson's departure, Melville for 
the first time in its history went north in 
search of a minister. Its choice fell upon 
Rev. David Eaton, M.A., of Dufftown, who 
accepted the invitation, and was happily 



152 



THE CHURCH US CR ABERDEEN 




Rev. James Muir, M.A. 



settled in the pastorate before the close oi 
1884. Mr. Eaton's work in Aberdeen was 
not of a. demonstrative or showy kind. He 
pursued the duties of his office quietly but 
diligently, and the outstanding charac- 
teristics of his ministry may be said to 
have been its wisdom, its earnestness, and 
its charity. Personally, he was beloved by 
hi6 members for his genuine, gentle, and 
unassuming character. Always of a 
studious disposition, and with a brilliant 
record as a scholar, he still further matured 
his powers during his stay in Aberdeen. 
His eminence as a Hebrew scholar became 
widely acknowledged, and had it not been 
for his innate modesty, several important 
positions might have been within his grasp. 
More than once his name has been proposed 
for vacant professorships, and he has dis- 
charged with acknowledged success the 
duties of a Hebrew chair during a tem- 



porary vacancy. Dr. Eaton (for he is now 

the worthy wearer of a D.D. degree) left 
Melville in May. 1893, to become minister 
of Great Hamilton Street Church, Glas- 
gow, arid he has more recently undertaken 
the pastorate of Scotstoun Church, one of 
the new extension charges promoted by the 
Glasgow Presbytery. 

A prolonged and rather trying vacancy 
followed on Dr. Eaton's removal from Mel- 
ville, intimately it was unanimously 
agreed to call Rev. James Henderson (son 
of Sir William Henderson), who had re- 
cently returned from Constantinople, and 
had formerly been minister at Insch. Mi- 
Henderson at the same time received a 
call from Queen's Cross Church, Glasgow, 
which he accepted in preference to Mel- 
ville. The committee set to work again, 
and in the course of time the vacancy was 
filled by the harmonious settlement, in 



MELVILLE UNITED FREE CHURCH 



158 



March, 1894, of Rev. W. S. Swanson, M.A., 
of Lochmaben. Mr. Swanson was a son 
of Rev. Dr. Swanson, of China, who was 
Moderator of the English Presbyterian 
Church in 1887. He traced his ancestry to 
the far north of Scotland, and he was 
trained for the ministry of the Free 
Church, gaining considerable distinction as 
a student. He was not long in Aberdeen 
before it was seen that he was in many 
ways a striking contrast to his predecessor. 
His culture was beyond dispute, but lie 
always gave the impression of being pre- 
eminently a man of action. His breezy 
manner, his impetuous walk, and his rush- 
ing utterance in public speech betokened 
a personality of a marked kind. Mr. Swan- 
son came to be known as a man of glowing 
enthusiasm and boundless energy. His 
preaching was fresh, eloquent, ami tolling, 
and he became a pow'er on the platform as 
well as in the pulpit. Temperance and 
social work claimed his special sympathy, 
and when he left to become ministei of 
Paisley Road Church, Glasgow, in 1901, it 
was recognised that the temperance move- 
ment in Aberdeen had lost its ablest and 
most persistent and powerful advocate. 

The present minister of Melville, Rev. 
James Muir, M.A., was called from Kil 
birnie soon after Mr. Swanson's departure 
for Glasgow, and he entered on the pas- 
torate in October, 1901. In Kilbirnie he 
had gained a great reputation as a preacher 
of real spiritual power, and throughout the 
whole district his influence was acknow- 
ledged. Since coming to Aberdeen he has 
been steadily justifying the expectations 
formed regarding him. The outstanding 
feature of his ministry so far has been the 
removal of the congregation from the old 
church in Correction Wynd and the erec- 
tion of the fine new suite of buildings in 
Skene Street West. The situation of the 
old edifice, removed, as it was, from the 
street, and with access only by ix narrow 
passage, must have proved detrimental to 
the interests of the congregation, parti- 
cularly within more recent years. The only 
advantage that may be said to have 
accrued from the old site was that it gave 
Melville an undisputed right to claim that 



it belonged to the Invisible Church ; while 
none could question the fact that narrow 
was the way which led to it. The new 
church buildings, designed by Messrs. 
Brown and Watt, architects, are unique 
among Aberdeen churches in two respects 
— one affecting the exterior and the other 
the interior of the building. There is a 
campanile built wholly of granite, and the 
auditorium of the church has the seating 
arranged in horseshoe form. The founda- 
tion stone of the new church was laid by 
Professor George Adam Smith on 5th 
October, 19U1, and the building was opened 
for public worshrp on 3rd January, 1903, 
by Rev. W. M. Clow, B.D., of Glasgow. 
In the new and modern structure, so ad- 
mirably equipped with halls and classrooms 
lor all the needs of a congregation of these 
days, there is room for growth in numbers 
and development along various lines; and 
.Mr. Muir's inspiring ministry will now 
have abundant scope. Already there has 
been considerable progress, and what has 
been attained may be taken as a forecast 
of the possibilities of the future. 

MelviiJe congregation has never lacked 
earnest and capable men to direct its 
affairs. It has had such men in the past, 
and it docs not lack them now. Not a 
few, both past and present, have taken 
their share in public work and received 
honours at the hands of the community. 
Yet the distinguishing features of Melville 
t hureh, as already alluded to, are its evan- 
gelistic sympathies and its practical interest 
in aggressive religious work. These have 
dominated it all through ; and the church 
has been conspicuous, not so much for the 
public eminence of individual members as 
for the harmonious, united, and earnest 
manner in which the whole body of the 
people have been banded together for 
active effort. Various outlets have been 
found for the zeal of the congregation, and 
much good has been accomplished. Nothing, 
however, has reflected more favourably on 
the members than the manner in which the 
excellent Guestrow Mission, with all its 
many agencies, both religious and philan- 
thropic, was maintained for many years. 



XXXIX. NELSON STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH 




Nelson Street U.F. Church. 

This church owes its origin to a dispute 
which occasioned at the time a considerable 
amount of interest in local ecclesiastical 
circles. Two Presbyteries were agitated 
over it, and the Supreme Courts of two 
denominations had it under discussion ; 
while the actual outcome was the seceding 
of a body of members from the Free 
Church to the United Presbyterian Church. 
Time, however, obliterated the distinc- 
tions, and the dissentients or their 
descendants returned to full communion 
with their former fellow-churchmen in the 
larger body- which, as the United Free 
Church of Scotland, included both the 
sections formerly having a separate 
existence. 

The agitation which led to the founding 
of Nelson Street congregation centred 
almost exclusively on the personality and 
work of Rev. Thomas Brown. Mr. Brown 
would appear to have been a native of 
Edinburgh, as in his boyhood ho 
had been connected with Tolbooth 
Church in that city. Not much 



can be learned of his record in the 
earlier part of his life. Presumably it had 
been spent in home mission work, as he 
came to Aberdeen in 1854 at the age of 
42 to undertake the charge of the Gallow- 
gate Mission under the supervision of a 
committee of the Free Church Presbytery. 
He held that position for about nine years 
before anything occurred to interrupt the 
harmony of his relations with the Presby- 
tery, The work was characterised not only 
by diligence and zeal, but also by marked 
success in outward results. Mr. Brown 
found a handful of people worshipping in 
a mission hall, but by his earnest efforts 
and his skilful organisation a congregation 
of over 200 was soon gathered together. 
The Presbyterial committee, being gratified 
with the progress of the work, resolved in 
1859 to provide for its future development 
by erecting a church in the district, and 
this project was carried into effect in 1861. 
So far, Mr. Brown and his members had 
no cause for complaint regarding the 
action of the Presbytery. They were less 
successful, however, with their application 
to have the mission raised to the status of 
a sanctioned charge of the Church, with 
power to elect their own minister. As a 
territorial mission under the Presbytery, 
the control of it6 affairs rested with that 
court, and, in view of the increase in num- 
bers and general prosperity, the members 
were strongly of opinion that the time 
had come when this state of matters should 
cease to exist. One strong argument ad- 
duced was that Mr. Brown's engagement 
was liable to be terminated at any time 
when the Presbytery thought fit. without 
those who had by his instrumentality been 
gathered into a congregation having any 
voice in the matter. Strong feeling was 
shown, and when the decision of the Pres- 
bytery and the General Assembly wa6 found 
to be adverse to the wishes of the people, 
it was. perhaps, only natural that there 
should have been keen resentment. It was 
certainly the case that the result was re- 
ceived with feelings of indignation, and 
that steps were taken to secure redress. 
What these steps were and who instigated 
them formed the subject of long and 
heated debates in the Free Church Presby- 
tery and of a vigorous controversy between 
two local newspapers. Overtures were made 
to the United Presbyterian Presbytery, Mr. 
Brown's application to be received as a 



NELSON STREET UNITED FREE CHURCH 



155 



licentiate of the Church being made on 
10th February, 1863. The U.P.'s, however, 
resolved to act with caution, and the Frees 
instituted an inquiry regarding Mr. 
Brown's alleged action in seeking to in- 
fluence the congregation to enter another 
denomination. The controversy was a 
prolonged and unhappy one. Ultimately, 
the U.P. Presbytery, acting by authority 
of its Supreme Court, resolved to receive 
Mr. Brown, seeing that the Free Church 
Presbytery had nothing against him on 
the score of status or reputation. There- 
upon another petition, in the form of a 
memorial from over 300 individuals con- 
nected with the Free Church Gallowgate 
Mission, was presented to the Presbytery, 
praying to be received into the U.P. 
Church. The Presbytery appointed 
Rev. Andrew Dickie, of !St. Paul Street, 
and Rev. J. M. M'Kerrow, of St. 
Nicholas Lane, to meet with the 
memorialists. Mr. Dickie and Mr. M'Ker- 
raw convened a meeting in the Gallowgate 
Mission Hall, and gave an exposition of the 
principles of the United Presbyterian 
Church, and at the close 133 certificates of 
membership were handed in. On 8th Sep- 
tember, 1863, the prayer of the petition 
was granted, and a communion-roll made 
up. Mr. Brown was appointed to take 
oversight of the new charge for a time, and 
on 3rd May, 1864, he was ordained to the 
pastorate, thus reaching the goal so long 
in view. The congregation continued to 
meet in the Gallowgate Hall for several 
months, but another place of worship was 
felt to be necessary, and, after negotiation, 
a site was secured in Nelson Street near its 
junction with West North Street and the 
Gallowgate. There the building known as 
Nelson Street U.P. Church was erected. 
The new church was opened on 22nd 
March, 1867, by Rev. Dr Andrew Thom- 
son, of Broughton Place Church, 
Edinburgh, and the congregation then 
entered into possession of the premises. 

Mr. Brown threw himself into the work 
with characteristic zeal. He had no par- 
ticular ability as a preacher, but he was a 
hard worker, and spent his whole time 
among the poor folk in the district. While 
he never attained a position of influence, 
he gained the confidence and warm esteem 
of his own people. Everybody liked him, 
and he became a very welcome visitor in 
the houses of the poor in the Gallowgate 
district. For a time there was no lack 
of success, for the congregation gradually 
increased until there were about 300 names 
on the roll. Mr. Brown, however, proved 
unequal to the strain which the work im- 



posed. When he entered on the pastorate 
hj was no longer a young man, being then 
over 50 years of age, and it was not sur- 
prising that within 11 years of the date 
of his ordination he found it necessary to 
retire. The pioneer work requiring to be 
done and the exacting demands of the 
people of the district in the way of pas- 
toral visitation and oversight began to tell 
o:i his health, and on 8th April, 1878, his 
resignation was formally accepted by the 
Presbytery. He was not spared to enjoy 
a long period of respite from active work. 
He died at Greenock on 10th May, 1879— 
little more than a year after his retirement 
— in the 67th year of his age. A tablet to 
his memory (erected by his widow") finds a 
place in the vestibule of Nelson Street 
Church. There may have been — ami there 
may still be — grave doubts as to the wisdom 
of the decision to found Nelson Street con- 
gregation, but this need not in any way 
detract from an appreciation of the work 
accomplished by Mr. Brown. He rendered, 
within his own limits, valuable service, and 
he will be remembered chiefly as a kindly, 
earnest man, full of evangelical zeal and 
genuine sympathy for the people, and 
especially for the poor. 

The second minister of Nelson Street was 
Rev. John E. Dobson, who was inducted 
to the charge on 17th September, 1878. 
Mr. Dobson came with an experience of 
some 11 years in several spheres where he 
had laboured with varying success. He 
was attached originally to the Congrega- 
tionalists, and the earlier part of his career 
was spent in the Congregational ministry. 
hi 1867 he had been ordained as pastor of 
the Congregational Church at Blairgowrie, 
but after two years he removed to Lerwick. 
where he remained for five years, until he 
resigned owing to the unsuitability of the 
climate. His next charge was at Gains- 
borough, but before two years were ended 
he complained of ill-treatment, and re- 
signed his pastorate ; while at the same 
time he severed his connection with the 
Congregational body. At the Synod of 
1877 he applied for admission to the fellow- 
ship of the United Presbyterian Church, 
the reason he assigned for his change of 
denomination being the lack of any safe- 
guard in the Congregational system against 
the interference of office-bearers. The 
application was favourably considered. Mr. 
Dobson became a licentiate of the U.P. 
Church, and after fully a year he was 
settled as minister of Nelson Street. Of 
his work there it is not unjust to say that 
it was not a success. What the reasons 
that militated against the progress of the 



150 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



cause under hie pastorate may have been 
it would, perhaps, be difficult to state, but 
the fact remains that the prospect became 
decidedly less hopeful. On 2nd Nevember, 
1886, Mr. Dobson resigned, and was loosed 
from his charge. His next appointment 
was to Guai dbridge in 1892. 

When Mr. Dobson left it, Nelson Street 
Church was in rather straitened circum- 
stances. The membership liad dropped 
considerably, and there was a general fall- 
ing-off in other respects. As a consequence, 
the chinch was reduced in status to a 
preaching station, and a probationer was 
settled in it for a time. After some 
months, Itev. Archibald Campbell, a native 




Rev. Archibald Campbell. 

of Glasgow, and a probationer of the U.P. 
Church, then in charge of the home mission 
station at Fetterangus, was sent to Nelson 
Street. He entered on the work in 
October, 1887, and it was not long before 
there were signs of renewed life and vigour. 
Within a year of Mr. Campbell's settlement 
there was so manifest an improvement in 
the congregation and its prospects were so 
much brighter that the Presbytery agreed 
to restore the church to its former status 
with power to call a minister. It was only 
natural that the choice of the people 
should then have fallen on Mr. Campbell, 
who was formally ordained to the pastorate 
on 8th January, 1889. 

In the resuscitation of the church Mr. 



Campbell had associated with him assessors 
appointed by the Presbytery from some of 
the other U.P. churches in the city. He 
was specially helped by Mr. William Gray, 
diaper, and the late Mr. Charles Cowie, 
cartwright, West North Street, both of 
whom stood by him and gave valuable 
active support. Yet the burden of respon- 
sibility fell chiefly on his own shoulders, 
and he had to take a personal share in 
almost every department of work. In this 
he did not spare himself, strengthening 
and developing existing agencies,, and 
initiating new movements as the circum- 
stances appeared to call for them. During 
his first winter Mr. Campbell started Satur- 
day evening entertainments and founded 
a temperance society. The entertainments 
were the first of their kind in the city. 
though there are now many similar ven- 
tures. Evangelistic work always bulked 
largely in the church's record. The Sun- 
day evening service was mainly of an evan- 
gelistic character, and special niissione 
were frequently arranged for; while the 
surrounding district was systematically 
overtaken by a band of visitors, who 
invited the people to the various meet- 
ings. Perhaps, however, the Sunday 
School was the most encouraging 
feature of all the operations of the 
Church. At one time it had vanished 

entirely, but then it became a most vigor- 
ous and effective agency. Yet in this 
connection a difficulty was very acutely 
felt. The accommodation in the 

church buildings was not only far 
from comfortable, but it was also very far 
from adequately meeting the needs of the 
situation. Many aspects of the work of 
the church were capable of considerable 
expansion. This fact was recognised for 
some time by the members themselves, 
and they were diligently working with a 
view to the erection of more commodious 
and suitable premises on a site which had 
been acquired in Causewayend. 

More recently a proposal was made for 
uniting the congregation with that of St. 
Andrew'6 U.F. Church, and the negotia- 
tions were, in due course, brought to a 
successful issue. The arrangement pro- 
vided for the united congregations 
worshipping in St Andrew'.- Church, 
while the buildings in Nelson Street 
would be utilised for home mission work. 
Under the act of union, which came 
into force on 5th September. 1909. it was 
further provided that both ministers should 
be retained on an equal footing, and that 
the united congregation should be know u 
as that of King Street V.V. Church. 




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National Re-dedication 

13th April, 1919 




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Qs&« of froexfoty Swmce 



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NORTH UNITED FREE CHURCH 

ABERDEEN 




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( £> vl £)(g^ 



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XL- NORTH UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




North U.F. Church. 

This congregation has, since its in- 
ception, held a distinctive place in the 
religious life of Aberdeen. In the earlier 
years of its history it led the way in a 
great evangelical movement, and now in 
more recent times it is again acting as a 
pioneer in its great Home Mission enter- 
prise. 

The first minister and founder of the 
congregation was the Rev. Dr. John 
Murray, who came out of the North 
Parish Church at the Disruption of 1843. 
Dr. Murray was a man of power and in- 
fluence — one of the foremost figures in flie 
Disruption days in Aberdeen — and he 
carried almost his entire congregation 
with him, and held them well together 
until a new church could be erected. For 
thirty-four weeks he met with his fol- 
lowers in the Frederick Street Congrega- 
tional Chapel, where most successful ser- 
vices were held. In the meantime a site 
had been secured at the corner of Queen 
Street and West North Street, directly 
facing the Parish Church, where, with all 
speed, a suitable building was erected. 
On 22nd January, 1844, the Free North 
Church was opened, and Dr. Murray and 
his people were once more housed in a 
place of worship of their own — less com- 
modious and stately, perhaps, than the 
building across the street they had left for 
conscience sake, yet a sanctuary destined 
to gather around it many rich associa- 
tions, and to exert a remarkable influence 



in the community. The history of the con- 
gregation in its earliest days is largely 
bound up with the work of Dr. Murray. 
Ixmg before the Disruption he was one of 
the most widely-known ministers in Aber- 
deen. In 181(5 he had been appointed to 
the vacant charge of Trinity, from which 
he was transferred, in 1824, to the East 
Church. On the division of the City 
Parish of St Nicholas in 1828, he was 
appointed first minister of the North 
Parish, and the present huge church in 
King Street was then erected for him. In 
these various spheres Dr. Murray had ac- 
complished excellent work, and when he 
became minister of the Free North he had 
already an established reputation. He 
was a man of many-sided ability, char- 
acterised alike by courage and charity, 
something of a Boanerges in the pulpit, 
and withal a man of genuine goodness of 
heart and unquestioned sincerity of pur- 
pose. His ministry continued for 18 
years, until his death in March, 1861. 
Latterly, he had an assistant in the per- 
son of the Rev. George Campbell, who 
afterwards became his colleague and suc- 




Rev. Dr. John Murray. 



158 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Rev. George Campbell. 

ceesor, and under whom the Free North 
entered on a most interesting period of its 
history. 

Mr. Campbell was settled in September, 
1858, and it was not long before his 
ministry began to tell in quite a remark- 
able way. He developed strong 
evangelical tendencies, and his preaching 
struck a note largely its own. In the Re- 
vival movement, which stirred Aberdeen 
in the early 'sixties, Mr. Campbell stood 
in the forefront, and the Free North be- 
came for the time the recognised 
evangelical centre for the whole city. Mr. 
Campbell carried on a wonderful work. 
Crowds thronged to the church ; mass 
meetings were held in the Music Hall ; 
great multitudes gathered in the open air 
at the Castlegate and other places, and 
everywhere his preaching seemed to sway 
tbo hearts of his hearers. He was truly a 
prince of evangelists, with the emotional 
sensibility of a man of genius and a 
vveatb of imaginative, as well as spiritual, 
power. Some of the most prominent 
evangelical leaders of the time were fre- 
quently in the Free North in these stir- 
ring times. Rev. John M'Pherson, of 
Dundee, was intimately associated with 
Mr. Campbell in the work ; Brownlow 
North, Reginald Radcliffe, and many 
others lent ready assistance ; Duncan 
Matheson was a frequent helper, and 
amongst other local ministers who gave 
earnest support were Rev. James Smith, of 
Greyf rial's, and Rev Henry Williamson, of 
Huntly. Whilst many congregations bene- 
fited, the Free North naturally felt the 



influence of the movement at its highest. 
The membership increased until the ac- 
commodation was quite insufficient, and 
in other ways the evangelical zeal of the 
congregation became apparent. Earnest, 
aggressive work of various kinds was 
undertaken, and in those days many young 
men, who have since taken high positions 
in the Church, were connected with the 
congregation, and, under its auspices, were 
introduced to practical work. Principal 
Whyte, of Edinburgh, was frequently 
to be found at the Free North 
during his student days at King's College, 
and he has gratefully acknowledged his 
great obligations to the influence of Mr. 
Campbell. Rev. Professor Gibb, of West- 
minster College, Cambridge, was at the 
same time one of the church workers, and 
the Rev. George Cassie, of Hopeman, wa6 
a leader in its aggressive and mission 
efforts. Mr. Campbell's ministry ex- 
tended over a period of fully 15 years. 
He left for the Wynd Church, Glasgow, in 
February, 1873, and subsequently was ap- 
pointed by the General Assembly a6 an 
ordained evangelist of the Church. In 
that position he found a congenial sphere, 
and his evangelistic gifts were used with 
lasting effect throughout the length and 
breadth of the land until his death in 
July, 1893. 

The third minister of the congregation 
wa6 the Rev. George D. Low. M.A., who 
was called from Clunie, in Perthshire. 




Rev. George D. Low. MA. 



The Late Mr Cruden, Schoolmaster, 
Fetternear. 



Mr Wiiiiam Cruden, late schoolmaster, 
Fetternear, died suddenly yesterday at 3 Anson 
Road, Cricklewood, London, the residence of his 
son, t owhom he wa6 paying: a -visit. Mr 

C'ruden, who was in his iTth year, and lived in 
Aberdeen at 35 Bomiymuir Place, was a native 
of Forjrue. where ha was a pupil teacher. He 
received his scholastic training at the Free 
Church Normal School. Edinburgh, and he -was 
afterwards appointed to the mastership of the 
Inverkeithnie School. Afterwards lie was ap- 
pointed master of the Free Church SehooJ, 
Inverurie, where he had among- hie pupils ex- 
Lord Provost M.iitland, Aberdeen ; Principal 
Skinner, Cambridge; Principal Skinner, 
Madras; and other eminent .scholars. The 
1 of Garioch School 15oar<l subsequently 
appointed Mr Cruden to tin; mastership of 
Fetternear School, where he remained until his 
retirement on reaching ihe age-limit. In Aber- 
deen he was a member of the JN'orth D.F, 
Church, and acted as joint session-clci-k. His 
eldest son and only daughter are teachers in 
Aberdeen, whiLe the second son is a doctor in 
London. One of the other toiw is in busin ■.-.: in 
London, and a fourth is «■ teacherin South 
Vfrioft, and the remainig one is a farmer in 
Canada. • I 



£ * ?Aa, 



// 



NORTH UNITE]) FREE CHURCH 



159 



Mr. Low had been a student of rare dis- 
tinction, taking a foremost place in his 
classes, and forming at the same time 
close friendships with not a few con- 
temporaries who were destined in after 
years to become famous in the Church. 
He was inducted to the pastorate of the 
North Church on 12th June, 1893, the ser- 
vice on the occasion being conducted by 
Professor Robertson Smith, then a 
member of the Aberdeen Presbytery. On 
the following Sunday he was formally in- 
troduced by bi.s friend, Principal Rainy, 
while other three of his friends, Dr. 
Alexander Whyte, Dr. Macphail, and Dr. 
Keith, took part in the proceedings at his 
welcome meeting. Mr. Low served the 
North Church with conspicuous fidelity, 
and although his ministry is the shortest 
of the series, it was yet in various vays 
a very helpful one. Like his predecessor, 
he cherished warm evangelical sympathies. 
He was, however, perhaps more of a 
student than Mr. Campbell ; a man of 
wide and deep reading, well versed in 
theology, and ripe in practical experience. 
He has been described as " an edifying and 
savoury preacher," and there can be no 
doubt that, by his gifts and graces, he 
did much to solidify the congregation at a 
time in its history when such a work was 
of peculiar necessity and importance. Mr. 
Low accepted a call to Fountainbridge, 
Edinburgh, in August, 1882, but he has 
retained a keen interest in the work of his 
former congregation, and he took part in 
the closing service in the old church in 
January, 1904. 

On 26th August, 1883, the Rev. F. 
Rentou Barry was inducted to the 
pastorate of the North Church. Mr. 
Barry came with an experience of fully 
three years in the work of the ministry at 
Carnbee, Fifeshire, where he had been 
ordained in 1879, but he came also as 
quite a young man, with all the ardour of 
youth. From the outset he maintained a 
high standard of pulpit efficiency, his ser- 
mons being marked by no mean intel- 
lectual ability and expository skill. In 
the various duties of his office — and not 
least in pastoral work — he laboured with 
great acceptance during his ministry of 
nearly nineteen years, gaining not only 
the respect and personal esteem, but the 
affection of his members. The need for 
a new church, which had been felt almost 
from the beginning of Mr. Barry's 
pastorate, became an ever more pressing 
one, and ultimately it came to be re- 
cognised that some practical steps would 



require to be taken. The prolonged 
negotiations between the Presbytery and 
the congregation regarding the selection 
of a new site, and other matters con- 
nected therewith) need not be referred to, 
further than to say that the congregation 
remained perfectly united. The differences 
were entirely between the Presbytery and 
tJie congregation ; among the members 
themselves there was the utmost harmony, 
minister and people remaining absolutely 
loyal to one another. In July, 1902, Mr. 
Barry tendered his resignation, which was 
accepted by the Presbytery, as it was by 
the congregation, with the greatest re- 




Rev. F. Rentou Barry. 

gret, and with the most ample recognition 
of his eminently faithful and fruitful 
ministry. Almost immediately thereafter, 
he was settled as minister of Richmond 
Presbyterian Church, London, where he 
is finding suitable exercise for his 
abilities. 

For a time the outlook of the North 
Church was anything but hopeful, but it 
proved to be only the darkness before the 
dawn. A new chapter of signal interest 
in the congregational history was about 
to open. The Presbytery, with which the 
congregation had been frequently in con- 
flict, now offered to go hand in hand with 
them in a great new scheme of east-end 
mission work. Several members of the 
Presbytery, and notably some laymen, 
such as Mr. Thomas Ogilvie, had been im- 
pressed by the great success of the Man- 



L60 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



chesfcer Wesleyan Mission in reaching the 
masses iu the lower parts of that city, 
and they became convinced of the de- 
sirability of such a venture being tried in 
Aberdeen. It was recognised that an 
undertaking of the kind would be too 
great for any single congregation to at- 
tempt unaided, and that Presbyterial 
assistance and support would require to 
be freely given. The position of the 
North Church at the time, and the well- 
known characteristics of the congregation, 
suggested its suitability for this re- 
sponsibility and honour being laid upon it, 
and numerous conferences took place. 
Ultimately the congregation unanimously 
and enthusistically resolved to adopt the 
scheme, and the erection of the splendid 
new church premises on the site of the 
old was the first step towards carrying it 
into effect. The new buildings, designed 
by Mr. W. E. Gauld, architect, an office- 
bearer of the congregation, form a splen- 
did pile, admirably adapted in every v/ay, 
with the commodious church (in which 
there is no pulpit, but a large platform 
with accommodation for the choir and 
orchestra and a desk for the preacher in 
front), the numerous halls, class-rooms, 
sisters' rooms, etc., for the conduct of 
the social as well as the religious work 
of which they are the centre. A supreme 
difficulty, however, confronted the pro- 
motors in finding the right man to 
become the leader of this great new 
" Forward Movement," but eventually 
they found him in the person of a 
city minister, Rev James S. Stewart, 
of Rutherford Church. By his evangelical 
fervour, his great practical ability and 
enterprise, and by his conspicuous success 
in gathering together a very large con 
gregation at Rutherford, Mr. Stewart had 
shown that he possessed pre-eminent 
qualifications for the position. He was 
unanimously and heartily called by the 
North congregation to be their minister, 
and was inducted to the pastoral charge 
on 9th September, 1903, being formally 
introduced by Dr. Alexander Whyte, of 
St. George's, Edinburgh. At that time, 
and pending the erection of the new 
church, the services were held in the 
Trades Hall, Belmont Street. The new 
buildings were opened on 1st September, 
1905, by Rev. Dr. Robertson Nicoll. 
editor of the "British Weekly," and the 
services on the following Sunday were con- 
ducted by Rev. S. F. Collier, superin 
tendent of the Manchester Wesleyan 
Mission, and Rev. G. D. Low and Rev. 



P. R. Barry, former ministers of the con- 
gregation. 

Of its traditions the North Church has 
good reason to be proud. Its ministers 
have been characterised by an influence 
which has been widespread, and which 
many men in high position have been glad 
to acknowledge. Dr Whyte and his com- 
panions have been mentioned as coming 
under the spell of Mr. Campbell, and 
others could be cited as having at dif- 
ferent times been more or less intimately 
associated with the congregation. In this 
connection it may be noted that the Rev. 
Dr. James Hastings, the learned editor 
of the " Expository Times," the " Dic- 
tionary of the Bible," the " Encyclopsedia 
of Religion and Ethics," and other im- 




Rev. James S. Stewart. 

portant undertakings, was a member of 
the North Church, and a worker in the 
Sabbath School and other agencies, during 
his college days in Aberdeen. Prominent 
citizens also were to be found both in 
office and in the membership. Many of 
them have passed away, including Mr 
William Garvie and Mr. Alexander 
AI'Robbie. but others remain leaders and 
active workers in the manifold activities 
of the congregation, for nothing in the 
history of the North Church has 
been more remarkable than the con- 
tinued loyalty of its best members 
through ali the stress of trying times 
and amid all the changes in the 
aspeet of the district. Amongst those long 



NORTH UNITED FREE CHURCH 



161 



connected with the church who remain 
attached and earnest workers to-day are 
Mr. William Valentine, Mr. Edgar Gauld, 
and others whose names are well known in 
religions and philanthropic movements in 
the citjj while in the ranks of the younger 
generation there are several who occupy 
prominent positions in professional and 
business circles. It has thus been shown 
that residence in the west-end need not 
of necessity lead to the severance of con- 
nection with an east-end church, and this 
has afforded a practical illustration of the 
manner in which one of the pressing pro- 
blems of the day may be solved. 

Alongside the problem of the mainten- 
ance of east-end churches there is another 
and greater problem to be faced in the re- 
clamation of the east-end masses. To this 
great task the minister and people of the 
North congregation have now applied 
themselves. The work has been adapted 
to the conditions under which it has to be 
carried on. The central feature, perhaps, 
lias been the popular Sunday evening ser- 
vice, with large choir and orchestra. 
These services have invariably been at- 



tended by crowded audiences all the year 
round. The Brotherhood of Social Ser- 
vice, which meets on Sunday afternoons, is 
specially designed to reach the men of the 
district, and by means of various agencies 
and clubs every olass is catered for, and 
the buildings are a hive of industry. As 
many as nine different services and meet- 
ings are held every Sunday, and twenty- 
six every week. Mr. Stewart has had a 
succession of able and capable assistants, 
among the number being Rev. Graham 
Park, of Loudon; Rev. W. D. Niven, of 
Macduff; and Rev. W. A. B. Gall, of 
Cromarty and a trained Sister ;s 
also steadily engaged in work amongst 
the people. There has been no lack of 
voluntary workers, the office-bearers — 
both old and young — throwing them- 
selves into the movement with the ut- 
most enthusiasm and devotion. As 
an experiment in Home Mission work on 
new lines, the North Church enterprise ha6 
attracted much attention throughout the 
Church at large, and many visitors have 
come from other parts of the country to 
see the scheme in operation. 




Old Free North Church. 



XLI — OLDMACHAR UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Oldmachar U.F. Church. 

The Disruption of 1843, which for the 
time wrecked the Established Church in 
the city of Aberdeen itself, made compara- 
tively little impression on its sleepy neigh- 
bour the Old Town. In those days, the 
" Aultou " gloried in its separate 
existence ; and in the whole aspect of its 
life and thought it stood as a community 
entirely by itself. Thus the ecclesiastical 
storm which raged in fury in the now and 
greater city was but little felt in this strong- 
hold of conservatism. The Free Church 
found an opening at the time, but under 
circumstances entirely different from these 
which prevailed in the neighbouring com- 
munity. This fact is worthy of notice, as 
it. has undoubtedly, to some extent, 
affected the whole subsequent history of 
the congregation then formed. 

The ministers of the Cathedral in 1843 
were Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Robert Smith 
and Rev. Dr. Patrick Forbes, who held the 
first and second charges respectively. Both 
exercised considerable influence, especially 
Dr. Forbes, who had been Moderator of 
the General Assembly in 1829, and was well 
known throughout the Church at large. 
Although all their brethren in the pulpits 
of the Established Church in Aberdeen 
joined the Free Church, the two ministers 
of Oldmachar remained at their posts, and 
declined to associate themselves with the 



Disruption party. This naturally produced 
a steadying effect on the members of the 
congregation, the great bulk of them ad- 
hering to the Establishment. A small 
party, however, sympathised with the 
founders of the Free Church, and severed 
their connection with the Cathedral. Their 
going forth from the Church of their 
lathers was in strange contrast to that of 
the Aberdeen Disruptionists. It was devoid 
of the dramatic effect produced by 
ministers leading forth great numbers of 
their people, and it lacked the inspiration 
always associated with a great movement. 
They went out quietly ; but if the occasion 
was not signalised by any popular demon- 
stration, it perhaps bore all the more elo- 
quent testimony to the strength of con- 
viction on the part of those who took the 
step. The seceding party worshipped at 
first in one of the classrooms of the Gym- 
nasium, which was placed at their disposal 
by Rev. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Anderson, 
\\lio, from the first, was in hearty sym- 
pathy with the movement. In a short time 
a wooden church was erected in High 
Street, which), after considerable delay, 
was replaced on the same site by the pre- 
sent stone and lime building. The pros- 
pects of the congregation undoubtedly 
suffered from its having been formed with- 
out a minister, and it had to labour under 
this disadvantage for two years. Then, 
in 184."i. Dr. Anderson, of the Gymnasium. 
was called to the pastorate. Dr. Ander- 
son had formerly been parish minister of 
Boyndie, but had become more widely 
known as the founder and head of the high- 
class boarding school in the Chan on ry 
known as the Gymnasium. This establish- 
ment gained a high reputation, and there 
went forth from the " Gym." many men 
who afterwards rose to high positions in 
various walks of life. Dr. Anderson was 
held in the highest esteem by the whole 
community of Old Aberdeen, and under 
his ministry t he congregation entered on a 
period of prosperity. It was a great blow 
to the church when, after a few years' pas- 
torate, he thought it necessary to resign 
his connection with it on account of his 
changed views on the question of infant 
baptism. Dr. Anderson afterwards founded 
a Baptist Church in Ross's Hall. George 
Street, to which he ministered for a num- 



OLDMACHAB UNITED FREE CHURCH 



163 



her of years, until it joined the .John Street 
congregation in forming what is now Crown 
Terrace Baptist Church. On the union of 
the two congregations being effected in 
1879, Dr. Anderson became minister- 
emeritus of Crown Terrace Church, and he 
retained that position until his death. 

The second minister of the Old Aberdeen 
Church was Rev. Alfred Edersheim, Ph.D., 
who was destined to become famous in 
after years as a Biblical scholar. Dr. Eder- 
sheim had been assisting Rev. Robert 
Forbes at Woodside, where his services 
were highly appreciated, and it was 
through his work there that he became 
known to the people of Old Aberdeen. Pre- 
vious to his settlement in the north, his 
career had been a varied one. Born at 
Vienna, of Jewish parents, he became early 
in life a teacher of languages, and when 
thus engaged at Pesth he made the ac- 
quaintance of Dr. .John Duncan and other 
Presbyterian ministers, who acted as chap- 
lains to the Scottish workmen engaged in 
building the bridge over the Danube. Under 
their influence he embraced Christianity, 
and he subsequently accompanied Dr. Dun- 
can on his return to Scotland. In 184G he 
entered the Presbyterian ministry, and 
thereafter he preached for a year as mis- 
sionary to the Jews and Germans at Jassy. 
in Roumania. Dr. Edersheim was settled 
at Old Aberdeen in the beginning of 1848, 
and he remained in the charge for twelve 
years. His ministrations seem to have 
proved very acceptable, and the congrega- 
tion continued to prosper under his rare. 
In the academic quiet of Old Aberdeen Dr. 
Edersheim laid the foundations of his 
future fame as a writer. During his 
ministry there he translated several Ger- 
man theological works into English, and 
wrote his " History of the Jewish Nation 
from the Fall of Jerusalem to the Reign 
of Constantino the Great " : while he was 
also a contributor to the " Athenseum " 
and other periodicals. Unfortunately, his 
health broke down, and he was compelled, 
after a lengthened leave of absence, to re- 
sign the charge and remove to Torquay. 
Having in large measure recovered 
his strength in the more congenial 
climate of the south of England, he 
was instrumental in founding St. An- 
drew's Presbyterian Church, Torquay, 
of which he became the first minister. 
In 1872 his health again broke down, and 
he resigned and removed to Bournemouth, 
but in 1875 he made a greater change when 
he left Presbyterianism and passed into 
the Church of England. Taking holy 
orders, he was appointed to the living of 



Lovers, in Dorsetshire, where he wrote his 
great work, " The Life and Times of Jesus 
tlie Messiah." In 1882 he removed to Ox- 
ford, where he was, on occasion. Select 
Preacher at the University, and filled 
various posts until his death, which 
occurred suddenly at Mentone on 16th 
March, 1889. Dr. Edersheim has 

been described as "gentle and 
in disposition, bright and 
in conversation, genial in 



ami- 
hum- 



man- 



able 

orous 

ner, a ready and fluent writer, and an 
effective preacher ; possessed of a poetical 
imagination which was apt to give a rhet- 
orical redundance to his style ; in literary 
and theological questions conservative but 
tolerant." Dr. Edersheim left behind him 
a great reputation as a scholar, but he is 
remembered in Old Aberdeen mainly as an 
earnest Christian minister. He laboured 
jealously for the welfare of the congrega- 
tion, was instrumental in securing the erec- 
tion of the present manse, and by his 
preaching and pastoral care promoted the 
best interests of the people. 

When Dr. Edersheim first left in quest 
of health, arrangements were made for 
carrying on the work of the congregation, 
and Rev. Thomas Gardiner was secured as 
" locum tenens." Mr. Gardiner had, in his 
probationer days, served for some time in 
one of the largest churches in Aberdeen, 
and later on he had been elected to the 
pastorate of a church on Deeside. The 
claims of the foreign mission field had, 
however, appealed to him, and he offered 
himself for work in India. Going abroad 
in 1853, he was closely associated with Dr. 
Duff, and also with Dr. Thomas Smith, 
who, in later days, was his most intimate 
friend. A breakdown in health brought 
this part of his life-work to an end in the 
closing months of 1861, .and shortly there- 
after Mr. Gardiner came to Old Aberdeen. 
Taking up his residence in the manse, then 
recently erected , he carried on the work in 
all its departments for seventeen months, 
and then on Dr. Edersheim resigning the 
pastorate, he was most cordially elected to 
the vacancy. His induction took place on 
30th July, 1863, and he was formally in- 
troduced (although in his case no intro- 
duction was necessary) by Dr. Thomas 
Smith. Mr. Gardiner entered on the pas- 
torate with devoted earnestness. A man 
of true piety and ripe spiritual experience, 
he took a high view of the duties and re- 
sponsibilities of the Christian ministry, 
and he freely spent his strength in the 
service of the church. He was very exact 
and methodical in all his ways, punctual 
to a degree with his engagements, and 

1.2 



164 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



scrupulously careful in the arrangement of 
his books and papers. His pulpit work wae 
most diligently prepared, and for many 
years he was in his study before five o'clock 
in the mornings of four days in the week. 
He left 1040 carefully-written sermons and 
lectures. His preaching has been described 
as both doctrinal and practical. He 
" preached doctrine practically and prac- 
tice doctrinally." Yet the main charac- 
teristic of his pulpit message was its fer- 
vent evangelicalism. The same spirit 
breathed through his pulpit prayers, which 
were often uttered with great fervour and 
even heart-felt emotion. His people also 
remembered long after his ministry was 
ended the power and unction with which 
ho gave out some of his favourite Psalms 
to be sung bv the congregation. The 
deeply solemn and yet happy tones 
in which he read 

" O let my soul live and it shall 
Give praises unto Thee; 
And let Thy judgments gracious 
Be helpful unto me." 

were not soon forgotten. 

In pastoral work Mr. Gardiner was ex- 
tremely conscientious. From the last sum- 
mation in his books it was found that he 
had made 3170 pastoral visits, and 3289 to 
the sick and afflicted, making a total of 
B459 connected with the Old Aberdeen con- 
gregation. This represents a considerable 
expenditure of time and strength when it 
is borne in mind that the pastoral visits 
were not mere calls for casual conversation, 
but were made the occasion of imparting 
direct religious instruction and edification 
to the members of the families of his flock. 
The affairs of the congregation were in a 
very fair state of prosperity, but a load of 
debt still rested on the church and manse. 
and to some extent hindered the work. It 
was resolved to hold a bazaar, and this 
was done in December, 1871, when, thanks 
to the generous help of many friends in 
Aberdeen outside the congregation, the 
sum of nearly £600 was raised. The result 
was eminently gratifying to Mr. Gardiner, 
and highly encouraging to the congrega- 
tion. 

Mr. Gardiner from a very early stage in 
his ministry at Old Aberdeen took a keen 
interest in ecclesiastical affairs and in public 
questions generally, and he was a member 
of several of the Standing Committees of 
the Church, whose meetings in Edinburgh 
he attended with great regularity. But 
it was in connection with the Robertson 
Smith case that he first became a prominent 
public figure. In that famous controversy 



he was destined to become a leader on the 
conservative side, although entries made 
in his diary at the time .show that he had 
no desire personally to play such a part. 
Some of the entiles reveal the man in 
another aspect than that which may have ap- 
peared to the public of those days. Writing 
at one time, he says: — " I have had to take 
such a leading part as I neA'er anticipated. 
I am sure I did not wish it, but begged 
to be excused when the brethren placed 
the lead in my hands." In the Presbytery 
ho was foremost amongst those who took 
the strongest view against Professor 
Robertson Smith, and when several ap- 
peals were made to the Assembly, he ap- 
peared at the bar along with Principal 
Brown and stated his case in a manner 
which gratified his friends. In two of the 
appeals the decision of the Assembly was 
in favour of his contentions. When the 
Aberdeen Presbytery resumed considera- 
tion of the case after the Assembly. Mr. 
Gardiner was chosen a*, convener of the 
committee appointed to prepare the libel 
against Professor Smith, and this work had 
only just been completed when he was 
seized with the illness which in a short time 
ended in his death. There could bo no 
doubt as to Mr. Gardiner's position on the 
matters in dispute. He was avowedly of 
the old school, and delighted in the old 
paths. " I had rather," he 6aid at one 
time, " be a Covenanter than a critic," and 
this very fairly indicated his attitude to- 
wards the critical school generally. His 
opposition to Dr. Robertson Smith was not 
to him a light matter. He felt he was 
doing battle for the truth, and there can 
bo no doubt that he was actuated by the 
highest motives. Even towards the Pro- 
fessor himself, however severely he may 
have criticised his position, and in what- 
ever light his action may have appeared 
at the time, his feelings were entirely free 
from any personal animositv. Writing to 
a friend in the height of the controversy, 
he said, with reference to one of the heated 
Presbytery meetings: — "I never felt so 
kindly to Professor Smith himself — so free 
from anything like personal feeling." In 
paying a memorial tribute at the Presby- 
tery, Dr. Laidlaw, who had often differed 
from Mr. Gardiner with regard to the case, 
paid a worthy tribute to the purity of 
motive and freedom from personality and 
bitterness which had marked his conduct 
throughout. 

Mr. Gardiner succumbed to an attack of 
scarlet fever, which was then prevalent in 
the Old Town, his death taking place on 
14th October. 1877. He had completed 14 



OLDMACHAR UNITED FREE CHURCH 



165 



years' pastorate of the congregation, and 
lie was laid to rest in Oldmachar Church- 
yard amid many manifestations of sorrow 
in the community generally. In his day 
Mr. Gardiner filled a large place in the 
ecclesiastical life of the district. While he 
could hardly be described as a man of out- 
standing mental power, he had a keen and 
ready mind, and he was a fluent and effec- 
tive speaker. His business-like qualifica- 
tions shone to advantage in the Church 
courts, but in his own congregation it was 
by his devoutness and earnestness that he 
made an impression, and it is by these that 
he is remembered. 

In 1878 Rev. D. M. Macalister, of Fasso- 
way, was called to Old Aberdeen, and was 
in due course inducted as pastor of the con- 
gregation. A very acceptable preacher, 
Mr. Macalister made a good impression, 
and the membership for a time showed 
signs of increase. Like his predecessor, he 
took an extreme conservative position on 
the questions agitating the Church— organs 
being one of his pet aversions. In Mr. 
Macalister's time the church hall was built, 
and there were other evidences of progress 
and prosperity, although these were not 
by any means conspicuous. Mr. Macalister's 
abilities never met, perhaps, with all the 
success they merited at Old Aberdeen, and 
in 1887, after a pastorate of nine years, he 
accepted a call to Buccleuch-Greyfriars 
Church, Edinburgh. At the Union of the 
Churches in 1900, he took sides with the 
minority, and declined to enter the United 
Free Church. He was intimately associated 
with the Free Church for some "years, and 
subsequently attained the dignity of the 
Moderatorship. In 1904 he retired from 
pastoral work. 

Mr. Macalister was succeeded at Old 
Aberdeen by Rev. Duncan Maclean, B.D.. 
of Allanton, whose settlement took place 
in 1887. Mr. Maclean continued the work 
with great fidelity. He was less pro- 
nounced in his views on the ecclesiastical 
problems of the time than either of his 
two immediate predecessors, and rather 
shrank from any public discussion. He 
became known, however, as a man of 
scholarship and culture. Yet, notwith- 
standing his undoubted gifts, he found the 
work of the pastorate beset by not a few 
difficulties. The conditions were by no 
means conducive to success, but Mr. Mac- 
lean laboured in the charge with persistent 
earnestness for thirteen years. In 1900, 
owing to the health of his wife, he resigned 
the pastorate, and removed to Edinburgh, 
where he has since lived in retirement, 



although undertaking occasional pulpit 
supply in different parts of the country. 

Rev. Joseph Shillinglaw, B.D., the pre- 
sent pastor of the congregation, was 
ordained and inducted to the charge in 
October, 1900. After a highly successful 
career as a student at Glasgow University 
and Glasgow Free Church College, he was 
appointed assistant in St. Paul's Church, 
Giasgow, and laboured there for over a 
year before being called to Oldmachar. Mr. 
Shillinglaw threw himself into the work 




Rev. Joseph Shillinglaw, B.D. 

with the enthusiasm of youth, and his 
efforts have not been unavailing. The mem- 
bership has been about doubled — having 
increased from 150 to nearly 300 — the 
debt has been cleared off, and the buildings 
renovated to some extent. A Band of 
Hope has been instituted, and is now suc- 
cessfully conducted by one of the elders, 
Mr. Hendry Davidson, and the mothers' 
meeting, under Mrs. Shillinglaw, is another 
effective agency, while the Sunday School 
is also maintained in elficiency under the 
superintendentship of Mr. James Thomson. 
Mr. Thomson is now the senior elder, and 
he has stood by the congregation in many 
ups and downs in its history. Another 
member of session who has been long asso- 
ciated with the congregation is Mr. Robert 
Clark, and in the membership, although not 
in office, are at least two representatives of 
the University, these two being Professor 
J. Arthur Thomson and Mr. John Clarke, 
Lecturer on Education. 



166 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



In summing up the history of this con- 
gregation, it must be noted as an interest- 
ing fact that so many of its ministers 
should have changed their denominational 
connection. The first minister became a 
Baptist, the second joined the Church of 
England, and the fourth allied himself 
with the "Wee Frees," while the third, 
although he did not change his own deno- 
mination, was one of the leaders in the 
movement which resulted in the ousting 
from that denomination of one of its most 
brilliant eons. Truly, the ministers of 01 d- 
machar Church have played an important 
part. The congregation itself has had alter- 
nating periods of prosperity and decline. 
Situated as it is, under the shadow of the 
venerable Cathedral, and amid a popula- 
tion in which town and gown mingle with 



only indifferent success, it is not surprising 
that the church has never made pheno- 
menal progress. Another element not alto- 
gether helpful has been the atmosphere of 
unbroken repose in which the community 
generally seemed to live and move and 
have its being. With the fusion of Old 
and New Aberdeen in one municipal burgh, 
there has been a gradual casting away of 
old traditions, and a steady progress to- 
wards a new order of things more in keep- 
ing with a progressive community. Amid 
these changed and changing conditions, 
and under its present minister, who is so 
fully abreast of all the intellectual and 
social movements of the time, the con- 
gregation was, perhaps, never in a more 
hopeful position than it is to-day. 



XLII.— QUEEN'S CROSS UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Queen's Cross U.F. Church. 

As early as 1872 Principal Lumsden and 
other leading Free Churchmen in Aberdeen 
had seen the necessity for the erection of a 
new church to serve the rapidly-extending 
western district of the city. Communica- 
tions were opened with the view of attain- 
ing this object, but certain difficulties 
emerged, and these for a time proved in- 
surmountable. About five years later the 
proposal was revived, and, the obstacles in 
the way having then disappeared, the 
scheme was successfully launched. 

In the early part of 1877 the Church 
Extension Committee of the Presbytery had 
the matter under consideration, and in- 
vited an expression of opinion on the part 
of members of the Free Church resident in 
the western suburb. In course of time it 
was reported that a number of gentlemen 
belonging to the west-end, wishing to take 
a public-spirited interest in the Church's 



prosperity and progress, had met with the 
committee and certain well-known friends 
of the Church. The result, after confer- 
ring on the whole situation, was a complete 
unanimity of opinion that the time had 
arrived for taking active steps towards the 
formation of a congregation. These resi- 
dents in the locality were so convinced of 
the propriety of proceeding that they made 
careful examination of several available 
sites. Before committing themselves, how- 
ever, to any particular scheme, they sub- 
mitted the whole matter for the approval 
and encouragement of the Presbytery. The 
question came before the Court at its meet- 
ing on 4th December, 1877, the report being 
submitted by Professor Salmon d, who acted 
as convener of the Church Extension Com- 
mittee, and who took an active and leading 
part in ali the negotiations. Good en- 
couragement was given by the Presbytery, 
the adoption of the report being moved in 
a most cordial speech by Rev. John Laid- 
law, of the West Church, who strongly 
urged the formation of this new congrega- 
tion, although he recognised it would mean 
that several of the older and larger 
churches, such as his own, would have to 
part with a number of their members. 

Those who had been taking an interest 
in the project were then formed into a 
Local Committee, and the question of a 
site was at once considered. The first site 
chosen was in Queen's Road, on its north 
side, where the houses Nos. 8 to 10 stand 
to-day. After further negotiation, how- 
ever, the committee eventually secured 
the site originally contemplated,, and cer- 
tainly, in every way more desirable, viz., 
the triangular piece of ground lying west 
of Albyn Terrace, and forming the junc- 
tion at Queen's Cross of Albyn Place and 
Carden Place. Competitive designs were 
invited for a complete suite of buildings, 
including, in addition to the church, a 
suitable hall, together with session house, 
vestry, etc., Mr. Pirie (Messrs. Pirie and 
Clyne) being the successful competitor, with 
a design providing for a handsome edifice 
in granite at a cost of about £6000, exclu- 
sive of £3000 for site and extras. The 
original trustees were Professor Salmond, 
who was also convener of the Local Com- 
mittee ; Major Ross, Mr. George Neilson, 
secretary, Great North of Scotland Rail- 
way, who also acted as convener of the 



168 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Finance Committee ; Mr. James Mathie- 
son ; Mr. Robert Lumsden, manager, North 
of Scotland Bank; Mr. William Keith, 
jun., granite merchant, who was convener 
of the Plans and Buildings Committee ; 
Mr. William Henderson, Devanha House ; 
and Mr. George Allan, advocate, who was 
one of the original promoters of the church, 
and from the outset treasurer of the Local 
Committee. 




Principal George Adam Smith. 

The church was opened for public wor- 
ship on 18th. April, 1881, the preachers on 
the occasion being Rev. Dr. Walter C. 
Smith, of Edinburgh, and Rev. Dr. Laid- 
law, of the West Church. The pulpit was 
occupied in the ensuing months by many 
of the most popular preachers in the Free 
Church from various parts of the country. 
During this time the necessary steps were 
being taken to secure a minister for the 
church, and .several names were under con- 
sideration. From the opening of the 
church, Rev. George Adam Smith, M.A., 
wiio was then filling the place of Professor 
Robertson Smith in the Free Church Col- 
lege, had frequently acted as pulpit supply, 
and the young Hebrew tutor's ministra- 
tions proved so very acceptable that he was 
unanimously called to be the first minister 
of the church. Mr. Smith accepted the 
call, and he was ordained to the charge on 
Thursday, 20th April, 1882, Rev. G. 
Webster Thomson, of the West Church 
officiating on the occasion. The introduc- 



tory services on the following Sunday were 
conducted by Rev. (afterwards Dr.) R. G. 
Balfour, of Edinburgh, afterwards Mode- 
rator of the General Assembly. 

The ministry which then began proved 
one of the most striking and influential 
which the city of Aberdeen has enjoyed 
within the last quarter of a century. Mr. 
Smith's brilliant preaching soon made a 
great impression, and by his bright and 
eager personality, so full of contagious en- 
thusiasm, he gained a special influence over 
young men. The pulpit of the new subur- 
ban charge became one of outstanding im- 
portance in the city, and Queen's Cross 
Church was a centre to which large 
audiences flocked from all quarters. The 
fame of the young preacher was beginning 
to spread beyond Aberdeen, and when his 
first volume on " Isaiah " was published in 
the series of the " Expositor's Bible," his 
name became known throughout the whole 
country. It was recognised that a new 
scholar and theologian of rare distinction 
had appeared, and henceforth many eyes 
were set on Queen's Cross. Overtures from 
various spheres of influence — including one 
of special urgency from the premier church 
of St. George's, Edinburgh — threatened to 
disturb the pastoral tie ; but Dr. Smith re- 
mained firm in his adherence to his firsl 
charge until he was called by the General 
Assembly of 1892 to the Chair of Hebrew 
in the Glasgow College. His ten years' 
ministry at Queen's Cross was fruitful in 
many ways. He laid the foundations of a 
strong and successful congregation, raising 
the membership to about 700, and organis- 
ing it in various departments of service. 
To a wider constituency, outside the con- 
gregation, he was a guide in matters of 
faith, and an inspiration to noble and 
strenuous living. His departure was felt 
to be the loss of a public-spirited citizen, 
and ample testimony was borne to the ex- 
tent and helpfulness of his influence in the 
community. The name of Professor George 
Adam Smith is now familiar throughout 
the world, and his eminence as a theologian 
is acknowledged in many countries, but 
nowhere has his growing fame been watched 
with greater satisfaction than in the city 
where he held his first and only pastorate. 
Dr. Smith's interest in his old congregation 
is still unabated, and he finds frequent 
opportunities of showing this in a practical 
manner. In October, 1909. Professor 
Smith wa.s appointed Principal of Aber- 
deen University. 

The vacancy at Queen's Cross was hap- 
pily filled by the induction on 31st May. 



QUEEN'S (JROSS UNITED EUEE CHURCH 



1(31) 



1893, of Rev. Martin Lewis, B.A., formerly 
of Gravesend. Mr. Lewis had a brilliant 
scholastic career in the University of Lon- 
don, in which he gained the distinctions of 
"University Scholar " and "Fellow of 
University College." He had likewise a 
distinguished record as a minister before 
coming to Aberdeen. Before completing 
his course at the Theological College of the 
English Presbyterian Church, he was 
elected to Bournemouth as colleague to 
Rev. James M'Gill. Ordained there in 
1878, he worked for a time along with Mr. 
M'Gill, and afterwards held the sole pas- 
torate for some years. Overwork having 
affected his health, he went for a voyage 
to Australia, and when visiting Melbourne 
was called to Toorak Church, one of the 
most influential Presbyterian Churches, not 
only in that city, but in the whole of 
Australia. Resigning his charge at Bourne- 
mouth, Mr. Lewis entered on the work in 
Melbourne, but the summer climate of Aus- 
tralia proved so injurious that he was com- 
pelled, after a short ministry, and to the 
great regret of an attached congregation, 
to return home. After his return in 1880 
lie was for some time in charge of the 
preaching station at Mentone, and there- 
after assisted Dr. Adolf Saphir in London, 
until he was asked to undertake the care 
of the congregation at Gravesend, which 
had fallen into a state of decay. There Mr. 
Lewis accomplished excellent work, remov- 
ing a heavy debt, and raising a large sum 
for the completion of the church and the 
erection of extensive mission premises in a 
poor neighbourhood, while during his 
ministry the Communion roll was greatly 
increased and vigorous aggressive work was 
carried on. 

In succeeding Dr. George Adam Smith, 
it was recognised that Mr Lewis would 
have no easy task, but he has stood 
the ordeal well. A man of the highest cul- 
ture, his preaching is refined and thought- 
ful, while at the same time practical and 
evangelical. As a preacher to children he 
has unique gifts, and his work among boys 
and girls has been a .special feature of his 
ministry both in Aberdeen and elsewhere. 
Mr. Lewis has been a contributor to the 
"Expository Times," the "Sunday Maga- 
zine," and other periodicals, and he has 
frequently been urged to publish more, but 
as his health has never been robust, he has 
required all his available strength for the 
pressing duties of the ministry. Personally, 
as well as for his talents, he is held in high 
esteem, and this was abundantly shown in 
1904, when he received handsome presenta- 



tions before going on a tour to the East. 
The fact that under Mr. Lewis's ministry 
the work and finance of Queen's Cross 
Church have been fully maintained, and 
even in some cases extended, is no mean 
tribute to his gifts and capabilities. The 
agencies of the church include the minister's 
Bible Class, Sunday School, Young Men's 
Fellowship Association, Literary and 




Rev. Martin Lewis. B.A. 

Musical Association, Mothers' Meeting, 
Women's Work Party, Temperance Society, 
and Boys' Brigade. In addition to these 
purely congregational organisations, a large 
Sunday School and a vigorous Band of 
Hope are carried on in Ashley Road Public 
School, and members of the church also 
conduct a Sunday School for the inmates 
of Oakbank Industrial School. While 
Queen's Cross Church has no Home Mis- 
sion of its own in the east -end, it has taken 
what is, perhaps, as helpful a part by pro- 
viding a portion of the salary of a 
missionary for the congregation of St. 
Clement's. The Christian liberality of the 
congregation is noteworthy, its annual col- 
lection on Hospital Sunday placing it in 
the front rank of city churches, while its 
contributions to the Sustentation Fund 
have been such as to give it a place among 
the leading congregations in the United 
Free Church. To other funds, both for 
home and foreign work, it has subscribed 
very liberally. 

A notable feature in the history of 



170 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Queen's Cross Church has been its good 
fortune in the selection of assistant mini- 
sters, many of whom have risen to positions 
of high distinction as theologians or 
preachers. The list includes the names of 
Rev. Professor 0. Anderson Scott, of West- 
minster College, Cambridge , Dr. John Kel- 
inun, Edinburgh ; Rev. A. Herbert Gray, 
Glasgow ; Rev. A. Duff Watson, Bom- 
tree bush ; Rev. R. H. Strachan, Elie (a son 
of the congregation) ; Rev. James VVishart, 
Irvine ; Rev. Donald Cameron, Montrose : 
Rev. W. S. Anderson, Markinch ; and Rev. 
Hugh Watt, of Waterbeach. 

There have been many well-known public 
men in active connection with Queen's 
Cross Church. The late Principal Sal- 
mond was one of the most attached friends 
of the congregation from its origin, with 
which he had so much to do, and he ren- 
dered loyal service in the eldership and in 
many other capacities. Mr. George Allan, 
advocate, is the sole survivor of those who 
took the initial responsibilities of the con- 
gregation. The leading officials to-day are 
men well known in the community. The 
late Mr Gray 0. Eraser, advocate, was 
session clerk for many years ; and the pre- 
sent treasurers are Mr. J. Buckley Allan, 



advocate ; Mi - . James Duguid, advocate ; 
and ex-Baillie Henderson. The elders in- 
clude two Professors of the University — 
Professor Kinlay and Professor Matthew 
Hay — and the Kirk-Session and Deacons' 
Court comprise many of the foremost 
figures in professional and business circles 
in the city. The membership, as might 
be expected, is largely drawn from the 
west-end and well-to-do classes. 

The original cost of the church and site, 
amounting to over £9000, was entirely 
cleared off without any outside appeal, and 
farther outlays of considerable amount 
have been made from time to time. A 
splendid pipe organ was installed at a cost 
of over £1200, and a beautiful Communion 
Table and Choir Stalls have been added : 
while three handsome istained-glass win- 
dows gifted by members of the congrega- 
tion adorn the building. Both in its in- 
terior and exterior the church is one of the 
finest in the city. It still holds, and is 
likely to hold for many years to come, the 
key of the position in the west-end. and 
there is every reason to believe that its 
future will be worthy of the traditions that 
are already associated with its life and 
work . 



XLIII. — RUTHERFORD UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Rutherford U.F. Church. 

The founding of this congregation was 
the direct outcome of earnest and success- 
ful home mission efforts. These were 
centred in the Northfield district, and it 
is necessary to refer to some aspects of the 
work there in order to trace the steps 
which led to the formation of a regular 
congregation. 

The locality in the 'forties and 'fifties 
was a strange contrast from what it is to- 
day. South Mount Street, Kintore Place. 
Richmond Street, and Eden Place were 
unbuilt. A nursery extended from Farmer 
Hall (now known as Farmer's Hall Lane) 
westward to the back of the Short Loan- 
ings, and from Roseniount Place south 
to Leadside Road. In Short Loan ings and 
Leadside Road there were rows of more or 
less dilapidated dwellings, and the locality 
had a bad reputation, and was regarded 
by staid citizens as a dangerous place to 
visit after dark. 

For some time previous to 1840 religious 
meetings were held in the house No. 44 
Short Loanings, where there lived a godly 
man named John Ross. The accommoda- 
tion proving insufficient, the gatherings 
were transferred to a small school in rear 
of No. 54 Leadside Road, where Mr. Ross 



had the assistance in his voluntary work 
of Mr. John Dalziel, the dominie. In this 
humble meeting-place, with an earthen 
floor and an uncomfortably-low ceiling, 
much good work was done, and many well- 
known men gave ready assistance. On 
one occasion Rev. W. C. Burns, afterwards 
the famous missionary to China, had pro- 
mised to preach, and as he did not appear 
at the appointed hour, Mr. Ross and bis 
son set out to seek him with a lantern in 
their hands. They met him about the foot 
of Jack's Brae, and while coming up that 
steep incline Mr. Burns remarked, "This 
reminds me of the Hill Difficulty." Amongst 
frequent speakers were — Rev. Messrs. 
Macphail, Free East ; Trail, late of Elgin ; 
Ogilvie, Maryculter : Simpson, Trinity ; 
Thomson, Greyfriars ; and Parker, Bon- 
Accord ; along with Rev. A. Beverley, 
LL.D. 

Notwithstanding the countenance and 
active support of various ministers, the 
movement for some time was entirely under 
the control and dependent on the exer- 
tions of Mr. Ross and those associated with 
him. The Free Church Presbytery, how- 
ever, was not uninterested. In 1845 a 
City Mission Committee was appointed to 
secure the preaching of the Gospel in desti- 
tute localities of the city, and the North- 
field work came formally under notice. 
Instead of instituting any new effort, it 
was wisely decided to help Mr. Ross. Some 
financial assistance was given, and arrange- 
ments were made whereby many of the 
ministers undertook a share in conducting 
the services. The City Mission Committee 
also gave the help of two deacons and 
several ladies. Prior to this, however, Mr. 
Ross had secured the co-operation of one 
who became his colleague more than his 
assistant, and who ultimately assumed 
practically the entire control of the move- 
ment. This was Mr. Alexander Laing, 
coachbuilder, whose name must ever be 
prominently associated with the history of 
Northfield. Mr. Laing joined Mr. Ross 
about 1848, and he soon became a power 
in the district. So popular was he with 
the residents that a petition was presented 
to the Presbytery praying for his settle- 
ment as a catechist, but the request was 
unsuccessful. Mr. Laing, however, per- 
severed with the work, and he had the 
gratification of seeing many tokens of pros- 



172 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



perity. The accommodation again proving 
insufficient, he conceived the idea of erect- 
ing a more suitable meeting-place, and in 
course of time secured an old, dilapidated 
dwelling in Leadside Road as a suitable 
site. The old house was demolished, and 
in its place there was built a small chapel 
and schoolroom. The chapel, which still 
remains as the eastern part of Northfield 
School, came to be known all over the city 
as " Laing's Kirkie," and that not without 
good reason. Not only was it the centre 
oi Mr. Laing's lengthened and beneficent 
work, but it was largely the product of his 
own hands. He was his own architect, 
drawing the plans and superintending the 
building; while he paid the entire cost, 
with the exception of £30, out of his own 
pocket. 




" Laing's Kirkie," Northfield. 

The chapel was opened on 10th Novem- 
ber, 1850, and, notwithstanding the cor- 
dial relations which had up till then 
existed between Mr. Laing and the Presby- 
tery, this event was the cause of an un- 
fortunate division of opinion. The Pres- 
bytery did not approve of the new venture, 
and made arrangements for continuing the 
work in the old school. In this they were 
utterly unsuccessful, and the attempt had 
soon to be abandoned. Mr. Laing had 
gained the confidence of the people, and 
they went to his meetings in crowds. He 
laboured incessantly, and left a deep im- 
pression on the district, " Laing's Kirkie " 
becoming a noted centre of religious life 
in the city. 

Soon after the revival of 1859-60, the 
kirk-session of the Free East Church felt 
that it was their duty to undertake some 



aggressive work, and the Upper Denburn 
was selected as the field for their efforts. 
The City Mission Committee had been 
carrying on work in a school opposite the 
Chapel of Ease brae, near the point where 
the Viaduct now crosses Upper Denburn, 
and this was transferred to the Free East 
congregation. Negotiations were also 
opened for the transfer of Mr. Laing's 
chapel in order that Northfield might be 
joined to the Upper Denburn to form one 
territorial district. Mr. Laing handed 
over the chapel and school as a gift on 
condition that the session also took along 
with them the small debt still resting on 
the buildings. This agreement was sanc- 
tioned by the Presbytery in March, 1863, 
and the Free East Church took possession 
with the aim and hope of developing the 
work, so that a territorial mission charge 
might soon be formed. Mr. Laing's offi- 
cial connection with the movement then 
ceased, although his work cannot be for- 
gotten. 

The first student missionary was Mr. 
John Gibb, now Professor Gibb, D.D., of 
Westminster Presbyterian College, Cam- 
bridge. He was succeeded by Mr. James 
Clark, afterwards minister of Lassodie ; 
Mr. John Keith, afterwards minister of 
Carmyllie ; Mr. A. Ogilvy, afterwards 
minister of Coatbridge ; Mr. M'Farlane, 
afterwards minister of Leghorn ; and Mr. 
Alexander Clark, afterwards minister of 
Kingswells. In 1866, the kirk-session of 
the Free East Church began to see that it 
would be necessary to secure the services 
of an ordained minister if they were to 
succeed in raising a regular congregation. 
The continual changing of the missionary 
was felt to be detrimental to the ingather- 
ing and upbuilding of a membership, and 
il was thought that the settlement of an 
ordained minister might add somewhat to 
the standing of the congregation. In 
April, 1867, the kirk-session of the East 
Chinch resolved to offer the appointment 
to Rev. Alexander Yule, then minister of 
Cargill, in Perthshire, who was known as 
aii earnest mission w r orker, and one not un- 
acquainted with the district, as he had in 
earlier years, along with Rev. T. T. Mat- 
thews, afterwards of Madagascar, con- 
ducted a Sunday School in a mission room 
in the Upper Denburn. Mr. Yule inti- 
mated his willingness to undertake the 
work on condition that Mr. Gray C. Fraser 
and Mr. George Bisset would associate 
themselves with the congregation as elders. 
These gentlemen readily agreed, and the 
session of the Free East consented to part 



RUTHERFORD UNITED FREE CHURCH 



17:-5 



with them, although Rev. J. C. Macphail, 
who was then minister of the church, anil 
who had shown so deep and practical an 
interest in the Northfield Mission, remarked 
that "giving them was like giving away 
his right hand." 

Mr. Yule was settled in Aberdeen in 
August, 1867. The wisdom of his selection 
was manifest from the outset, and in a few 
months it became evident that a larger 
place would have to be secured. The con- 
gregation made application to be raised to 
the statiu of a regular charge, and th« 
Presbytery recommended the application 
to the General Assembly, which granted 
its formal sanction in May, 1868. An ex- 
cellent site was secured for a church in 
Rosemount Place, directly facing Short 
Loanings, thus close to the street where 
the movement first began, and command- 
ing the district from which the bulk of the 
members had been drawn. The selection 
of this particular spot has proved a re- 
markably fortunate one. Rosemount Place 
since then has become one of the main 
arteries of traffic in the city, and the 
church is now in the very heart of a densely 
populated residential locality. Great 
developments have taken place in the dis- 
trict, all tending to enhance the prospects 
of the church, and enlarge its sphere of 
usefulness. A neat church was erected, 
<rith a spire, the clock and bell in which 
were largely, if not entirely, the proceeds 
of subscriptions from residents in the dis- 
trict. There was some difficulty in 
deciding on a name for the new church — 
the choice ultimately lying between that 
of Columba and Rutherford. It was finally 
resolved to adopt the latter. The half of 
Samuel Rutherford's memorable letters 
were written by him when he was in the 
city of Aberdeen, and it was to perpetuate 
the memory of that interesting fact that 
the church was called by the name of 
Rutherford. The opening services were 
conducted on 9th February, 1870, by Rev. 
J Hood Wilson, of the Barclay Church, 
Edinburgh, and on the following Sunday 
the special preachers were — Rev. J. C. 
Macphail, of Pilrig, Edinburgh (formerly 
of the Free East) ; Rev. R. S. Candlish, 
then of the Free East, and afterwards 
Professor Candlish, of Glasgow ; and Rev. 
H. M. Williamson, then of the Free High, 
and afterwards of Belfast. 

After the opening of the new church, the 
membership steadily increased, and many 
agencies were carried on with vigour. Nor 
was the work at Northfield allowed to lan- 
guish. Mr. Yule and his office-bearers 



took a personal interest in the various 
organisations and meetings, and in Novem- 
ber, 1871, a student missionary was ap- 
pointed to superintend the work. The 
first to occupy the position was Mr. J. G. 
Paterson, who afterwards went abroad. He 
was succeeded in 1873 by Mr. John Berry, 
who undertook a charge in South Africa 
on the completion of his college course, but 
subsequently returned to this country and 
settled in Lanarkshire. Mr. Berry was 
followed by Mr. Henry E. Michie, now 
minister of the South Church, Stonehaven, 
who laboured with great acceptance and 
amid much encouragement for two years. 
Mr. Michie left for Dunedin in the early 
part of 1877, and some time elapsed before 
a successor was appointed. In the autumn 
of 1878, Mr. John Burgess was selected 
for the post, and, on the expiry of his term, 
by a strange coincidence, he followed his 
three predecessors to the colonies, after- 
wards rising to the highest position of 
honour in the Church in Australia. Shortly 
after Mr. Burgess's appointment as student 
missionary, the church had to face the pos- 
sibility of losing its minister. In Septem- 
ber, 1878, Mr. Yule received a call to the 
pastorate of Erskine Church, Melbourne, 
and this he decided, after due considera- 
tion, to accept. In Rutherford Church the 
prospect was naturally viewed with regret, 
for Mr. Yule had practically made the con- 
gregation what it was. Under his foster- 
ing care, and as a result of his earnest 
preaching and devoted work, the member- 
ship had risen to 450. By his evangelistic 
gifts and his special faculty for dealing 
with the young, he had exercised an in- 
fluence which had been felt throughout the 
city at large ; while in the Presbytery he 
had distinguished himself during the great 
Robertson Smith controversy as an able 
and ready debater. Mr. Yule enhanced 
his repulalion. in Australia, gaining wide- 
spread esteem, and being ultimately called 
to the Moderatorship of the Federal 
Assembly. During a visit to Scotland in 
1904 he occupied his former pulpit in 
Rutherford Church, and renewed his 
acquaintance with the Northfield district 
and the scene of his early labours. 

The selection of a successor to Mr. Yule 
was speedily and harmoniously settled — the 
unanimous choice, alike of the committee 
and of the congregation, falling on Rev. 
James Dew 7 ar, of Campsie. Mr. Dewar was 
inducted in March, 1879, and was intro- 
duced by the late Rev. Dr. Adam, of Glas- 
gow. He took up the duties of the 
pastorate with great vigour, and soon 



171 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



proved his fitness as a practical worker. 
Possessed of special organising gifts, he 

developed the activities of the congrega- 
tion in various ways. The transference of 
the Northfield Chapel to the School Board 
led to the removal of a number of the 
agencies to the Church Hall, but the mis- 
sion operations were still continued. The 
services of a missionary were dispensed 
with for a time, and the work was appor- 
tioned among the elders and other office- 
bearers. New organisations, both religious 
and philanthropic, were instituted by Mr. 
Dewar, and the church became the centre 
of many efforts for the good of the people 
of the district. Much was also done about 
this time in raising funds to clear off the 
debt on the church buildings, and the con- 
gregation were able to rejoice in the suc- 
cess of their efforts in this respect. Mr. 
Dewar had held the pastorate for 13 years 
when, in 1892, the Home Mission Com- 
mittee of the General Assembly asked him 
to undertake the work of raising a new con- 
gregation in Motherwell. The task did not 
promise to be a light one, and the induce- 
ments, from a worldly point of view, were 
not great, but he accepted the invitation, 
and tho result has been such as to ratify 
the wisdom of his decision. Mr. Dewar 
was very highly esteemed for his personal 
worth as well as for his record of work. 
He was as fully appreciated out of the 
pulpit as in it — perhaps even more so, for 
his diligence as a pastor and his unfailing 
sympathy made his members his friends in 
the true sense of the term. The work he 
had to do was different in certain respects 
from that which fell to Mr. Yule. He 
found the congregation recently raised 
from a mission, and it was his lot to develop 
its congregational life and organise it more 
fully for Christian service. In doing this 
he left his mark upon it. 

In seeking a successor to Mr. Dewar, the 
congregation met with two disappoint- 
ments, calls being declined by Rev. John 
Hall, Cullen, and Rev. T. L. Ritchie, 
Brechin both now in Edinburgh. Not- 
withstanding these discouragements, a 
unanimous and hearty call was addressed, 
before the vacancy had become prolonged, 
to Rev. James S. Stewart, of Rathen. Mr. 
Stewai't accepted the invitation, and his 
induction took place on 31st August, 1893. 
On the following Sunday he was introduced 
by his relative, Dr. Hood Wilson, of Edin- 
burgh, who, as already stated, officiated at 
the opening of Rutherford Church. From 
the outset of his ministry Mr. Stewart met 
with remarkable tokens of outward success. 



His fervent, evangelical preaching made an 
immediate impression, and his eager, 
enthusiastic Celtic temperament seemed 
to carry everything before it. The member- 
ship went up by leaps and bounds, until an 
enlargement of the church was rendered 
an absolute necessity. This large scheme 
was undertaken with considerable enter- 
prise — side galleries being erected, and the 
transepts largely extend: 'd ; while at a later 
date the church was still further improved 
by the introduction of a handsome pipe 
organ. The mission at Northfield shared 
iu the general impetus. The work was 




Rev. John D. MacGilp, M.A. 

again put under the charge of student 
missionaries, and amongst those who filled 
the position there may be noted the late 
Rev. James Wallace. Blundellsands, Liver- 
pool ; Rev. John Cooper, Ballater : Rev. 
Ranald Macdonald, Dingwall ; Rev. Alex- 
ander Robertson, Pooua : Rev. Kenneth 
Cameron, Lochgilphead ; and Rev. Alex. 
Maclean. Nethy Bridge. Mr Stewart's 
ministry continued with unbroken mic- 
cess until August, 1903, when he 
accepted the invitation of the North 
congregation to the pastorate of 
their church with the view of lead- 
ing the new east-end Forward move- 
ment in Aberdeen on the lines of the Man- 
chester Mission, this step having the full 
and cordial approval of the Presbytery. 



RUTHERFORD UNITED FREE CHURCH 



175 



During Mr. Stewart's ten years' pastorate 
at Rutherford, the congregation had more 
than doubled. He left it with a member- 
ship of about 900, and with its prospects in 
every respect brighter than at any previous 
period in its history. 

The next minister of the church — Rev. 
John D. MacGilp, M.A.— was called from 
Lockerbie, and inducted to the charge in 
March, 1904. An able student, he had 
also proved his qualifications for the minis- 
terial vocation by the acceptance and suc- 
cess of his work at Lockerbie, and he came 
to Aberdeen with the benefit of 12 years' 
experience. He also came with the reputa- 
tion of being specially interested and pro- 
ficient in the work of the Church Courts, 
and this reputation he justified in Aber- 




Rev. Donald MTarlan, MA. 

deen. Mr. MacGilp was an able, thought- 
ful, and edifying preacher, and by his high- 
toned personality he gained a strong hold 
on the esteem and respect of the members. 
There was genuine regret when, in Decem- 
ber, 1907 — after a short pastorate of less 
than four years— he left for Crown Church, 
Inverness. The vacancy in Rutherford 
was filled on 20th February, 1908, by the 
induction of Rev. Donald M'Farlan, M.A., 
formerly of the West Church, Thurso, who 
is still minister of the congregation, and 
is worthily maintaining its reputation. 



Rutherford Church has been as fortu- 
nate in its office-bearers as in its ministers. 
At the first it had the services, as 
already noted, of Mr. Gray C. Fraser, 
who afterwards became associated with 
Queen's Cross Church, and of Mr. 
George Bisset, who retained his connection 
with Rutherford until his death. One 
elder still remains who was associated with 
the work at Northfield from the very first, 
and was one of the first leet of elders to 
be ordained in 1869. This is Mr. Peter 
Stewart, late plumber, who for many years 
acted as joint superintendent of the North- 
field Mission School. The steadfast loyalty 
of its office-bearers is one most gratifying 
feature of the history of Rutherford. Mr. 
Matthew Edwards has held office as an 
elder since 1873, and for nearly as many 
years has been superintendent of the Con- 
gregational Sunday School. Mr. John 
Whyntie has been an elder since 1878, and 
since 1883 has acted as congregational 
treasurer, in addition to filling at various 
times many of the important offices in the 
church. Mr. William Herd has discharged 
the duties of session clerk since 1889 — 
having acted for many years jointly with 
the late Mr. D. R. Halley, and, since his 
death, solely. The congregation has 
already given some of its sons to 
the ministry, and in years to come the 
list may grow. Rev. James Wallace and 
Rev. John Cooper, already mentioned as 
missionary-assistants, had both a family 
connection with Rutherford, and to these 
there can be added Rev. John Thomson, of 
Carmyllie ; Rev. J. H. J. Bissett, of Fyvie ; 
and Rev. William Herd, now a minister 
in the Colonies. Rev. Fred. G. Bowie, 
of the New Hebrides, was a mem- 
ber of the church, and Rev. Dr. 
Frank Innes, of Livingstonia, was an 
adherent during his college course. Both 
these missionaries were ordained in Ruther- 
ford Church, and formally set apart for 
their work before the congregation. 

In the present day the congregation is a 
living and vigorous one, and it is fully 
organised in every department of Christian 
activity. Neither in numbers nor in organi- 
sation can any further development be 
reasonably looked for. Its task for the 
future must be consolidation rather than 
extension. It supplies an excellent type of 
a thoroughly modern congregation, com- 
posed largely of the working and business 
people in the surrounding district, alive to 
the claims of the Church and of those who 
are yet outside of it, and touching at many 
points the life of the community. 



XLIV.— RUTHRIESTON UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Ruthrieston O.F. Church. 

This congregation does not, like many 
others, owe its origin to united action on 
the part of a number of residents in the 
locality. Its formation may be said to be 
wholly due to one man, who was a com- 
parative stranger to the district. That 
man was Rev. Mungo Fairly Parker, whose 
memory is still green after the lapse of 
many years. 

Mr. Parker was a man of rare parts. He 
was one of the most distinguished students 
of his day at the University of Glasgow, 
and on the completion of his course lie was 
appointed in 1837 to the East Church, 
Brechin, where he had for a time as his 
colleague Dr. M'Cosh, afterwards the well- 
known Principal M'Cosh, of Princeton, 
United States. In 1843 Mr. Parker 
took part in the Disruption, and 
carried a large section or his con- 
gregation along with him into the 
Free Church. In 1857 his health broke 
down, and he went to reside at the Bridge 
of Dee, where in a great measure he re- 
covered. The village of " Ruddristoune " 
at that time was of small extent, and there 
was no great population, but the irreligion 
apparently so prevalent, and especially the 
neglect of the young, stirred Mr. Parker's 
heart, and with returning strength he 
resolved to put forth an effort to stem the 
tide. Having enlisted the support 'of a 
few sympathetic residents, he set about 
securing a suitable place where meetings 
could be held. One of the innkeepers in 
the village, who rented a small house on 
the brae above the fords for evening enter- 
tainments, raffles, dancing classes, etc.. 



gave Mr. Parker permission to occupy the 
premises on Sundays. Forme used in tents 
on the adjoining market stance were 
brought in and arranged round the room : 
a plain deal table, with a hastily-prepared 
bookboard, was used as a reading desk ; 
while a dim, religious light was obtained 
from a number of candles. The venture 
succeeded beyond all expectations, and the 
room was filled every evening. Encour- 
aged by the success of his first effort, Mr. 
Parker next rented a cottage in what is 
now Ruthrieston Road, and got the 
partition walls removed, so that there 
was one large room with accommodation 
for 140 people. By this time his preach- 
ing had become widely known, and not only 
was the meeting-house packed every Sim- 
day evening, but chairs set round the house 
were also fully utilised, and even the dyke 
which bounded the garden would be 
entirely occupied with listeners. The next 
move was for the erection of a church, and 
on 8th August, 1858, a plain and unpre- 
tentious but comfortable building, which 
cost £250, was opened for public worship. 
There Mr. Parker ministered with ever- 
growing acceptance and success, until his 
death in 1867, and it is with this building 
that the memory of his lucid, earnest, and 
persuasive preaching will ever be associ- 
ated. Mr. Carnie has finely voiced the 
sentiments of many in his verse — 

! loved for aye those Sabbath eve-. 
And godly Parker's voice: 

" Come unto Him each soul that grieves. 
Come, wearied on©?, rejoice." 

1 hear the call — I join the psalm : 
We plead before the Throne. 

And memorv gilds with holv calm 
The Old Church in the Loan. 

Mungo Parker exercised a remarkable in- 
fluence in his day. His preaching seemed 
to strike a distinctive note, and there were 
many who thought it worth while to 
journey from the city — for it was some- 
thing of a Sabbath day's journey to 
Ruthrieston then— to have the privilege of 
hearing him week after week. Outside the 
pulpit his power was also great. Quietly 
and kindly he moved about amongst the 
people, ever ready to render help and guid- 
ance, and labouring with special zeal for 
the education of the young. Mr. Parker 



DEATH OF REV. DR C. M. RAE. 



The Rev. Dr George Milne Rao died at his' 
residence in Drummond Place, Edinburgh, on 
Saturday, at the advanced age of 76. 

Born at Udny in 1840, ho studied at the Uni- 
versity and Free Church College, Aberdeen. 
In 1867 he was ordained a missionary to Madras, 
where he remained till 1891. when he returned 
$o this couniry. In the following year he was 
appointed secretary of the Colonial, Continental, 
and Jewish Mission Committees. 

For some months in 1867 Dr Rae had charge 
of the Ruthrieston Free Church Mission, now 
the Ruthrieston U.F Church, to which he was 
ordained in the East Churoh. He carried on 
the work at Ruthrieston until his appointment to 
a professorship in the Madras College. /E-/& 



Wt? 



I 1 

MR D. M'HARDY OF CRAM FORD. 



Memorial in Ruthrieston U.F. 
Churoh. 

In Ruthrieston United Free Church, Aber- 
cleen, yesterday morning, the Rev. Dr Semplo, 
eenior minister, unveiled on the wall on the 
west side of the pulpit a handsome brass mural 
tablet: — 

To the glory of God, and in memory of 
David M'Hardy, J. P., of Cranford, 1838-1915. 
A devout worshipper, zealous as an office- 
bearer and treasurer, generous in his bene' 
factions, devoted to the children in the 
Sabbath School as teacher and superintendent 
for over half a century. 

Erected by members of the congregation, 
family and frends. 
The service which was largely attended, was 
conducted by the Rev. A. R. Taylor and Dr 
temple, the former reading the lessons from 
EcWesiastcs xii and Hebrews xi. 



RUTHRIESTON UNITED FREE CHURCH 



177 



died on 1st April, 1867, and a memorial 
erected by public subscription marks hi.s 
last resting-place in Nellfield Cemetery. 

The members of the mission (for Ruthrie- 
ston was still but a mission station) were 
now confronted with an aspect of affairs 
which tended to test their loyalty. Mr. 
Parker had drawn an income from the 
funds of the Free Church as minister of 
the East Church, Brechin, and had given 
bis services at Ruthrieston gratuitously, 
but now the whale expenses of pulpit 
supply and general maintenance devolved 
upon the congregation. A meeting was 
called to consider the circumstances — Dr. 
Maegilvray, of Gileomston, presiding — and 
with the utmost unanimity and heartiness 
the members agreed to stand by the mission 
and support it to the best of their ability, 
the general feeling being concisely summed 
up in the remark that '"they had been 
ee'st wi' guid preachin', and they beet t' 
hae that fatever cam'." Principal Lums- 
den, of the Free Church College, accepted 
the convenership of the mission, and in 
various ways used his powerful influence 
on its behalf. His first act was to a6k 
Rev. George Milne Rae, M.A., to under- 
take the pastoral charge. Mr. Rae was 
ordained in the East Church on 27th June, 

1867, Principal Lumsden presiding, and he 
carried on the work at Ruthrieston until 
his appointment to a professorship in the 
Madras College in September of the same 
year. Dr. Milne Rae is now secretary of 
the Colonial and Continental Committee of 
the Fnited Free Church. Happily, the 
Ruthrieston people were able to get the 
vacancy speedily and satisfactorily settled. 
Rev. George G. Cameron, M.A., was at 
that time supplying the pulpit of the Free 
West Church for Dr. Dyce Davidson, and as 
his engagement there was almost at an end. 
he was invited to take up the work of 
Ruthrieston. He accepted the invitation, 
and officiated with acceptance for over a 
year. On the death of Professor Sachs, of 
the Free Church College, in the end of 

1868, Mr. Cameron, who had the reputation 
ot being an accomplished Hebrew scholar, 
was appointed to discharge the duties of 
the vacant chair until the meeting of the 
Assembly, and his connection with Ruthrie- 
ston was, therefore, brought to an end. 
In 1887 he returned to the city again to 
take up the work of the chair, not, how- 
ever, in this instance for an interim period, 
but as the formally appointed Professor. 
From that time to this Professor Cameron, 
who is now a D.D. of our University, has 
been a worthy citizen of Aberdeen, and he 



still retains a warm interest in the affairs 
of hi.s former charge. 

Principal Lumsden continued to take a 
deep interest in the cause at Ruthrieston, 
and although there was a vacancy of some 
length, there was no lack of pulpit supply, 
for when he failed to secure any other 
preacher, the Principal always took the 
services himself. In March, 1870, Mr. 
Alexander Linn, a probationer from Glas- 
gow, was settled in the charge, but after 
one year's service, he accepted a call from 
St. Fergus, subsequently becoming minister 
of Cranstonhill Church, Glasgow, which 
was afterwards handed over to the authori- 
ties of the Free Church. 




Rev. Robert Semple. 

Soon after Mr. Linn's departure, a 
call was addressed to Rev. Robert 
Semple, then assistant at West Kil- 
bride. Mr. Semple had been recom- 
mended by Principal Fairbairn, of 
Glasgow Free Church College, and having 
preached before the congregation, he re- 
ceived a unanimous invitation. His settle- 
ment took place in the spring of 1871, and 
Ruthrieston was raised by the Assembly 
of the same year to the status of a church. 
Mr. Semple was ordained in February, 
1872, and soon thereafter it was resolved 
to proceed with the erection of a new 
church. A building capable of accom- 
modating 390, with hall and vestry, was 
designed by the late Mr. James Matthews, 



178 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



and the work was carried out at a cost of 
about £2800. The opening services in 
November, 1876, were conducted by Dr. 
Walter C. Smith, the poet-preacher of the 
Free Church. The congregation, under 
Mr. Semple's ministry, continued to 
flourish, and in course of time another new 
church had to be thought of. For one 
thing, the attendance at the Sunday School 
had so increased that the hall was over- 
crowded, and the Deacons' Court had to 
face the question of enlarging the hall, 
building a new one, or in some other way 
meeting the difficulty. The outcome was 
a resolution to build a new church and turn 
the former church into a hall. The present 
handsome and comely edifice was, there- 
fore, erected at a cost of about £4500, with 
accommodation for 700; while the halls 
accommodate 300 and 120 respectively. 
The opening services were held on 1st Sep- 
tember, 1901, the preacher on the occasion 
being Dr. Stalker, then of St. Matthew '8 
Church, Glasgow. 

Mr. Semple has not only had the pleasure 
of seeing Ruthrieston raised from a mission 
station to a regular congregation under his 
ministry, but he has also been instrumental 
in securing for it a desirable reputation as 
an active, harmonious, and prosperous 
suburban church. His ministry of 39 years 
has not been in vain, and, happily, it is not 
yet at an end, for he is still in full vigour. 
Mr. Semple, who is a native of Lesmaha- 
gow, Lanarkshire, and a Glasgow student, 
is an earnest preacher, holding by the 
evangelical traditions. His discourses arc 
practical and helpful, while suffused with 
that warmth of heart and strong human 
sympathy which in his personal intercourse 
have gained for him so sure a place in the 
esteem and affection of his whole congre- 
gation and of the community generally. 
To mention Mr. Semple's record as minister 
of Ruthrieston congregation is, however, to 
touch merely on one aspect of his work. 
He is a man with varied interests in life, 
and he excels in many spheres, but in none 
more than in the Church courts. As a 
Presbytery clerk he is pre-eminent. 
He has held the clerkship of the Aberdeen 
Presbytery since 1885, for a time acting as 
colleague to Dr. Spence, although from the 
first discharging all the duties. His work 



in that capacity is beyond all praise. As 
a master of ecclesiastical rules and forms 
lie is widely known, for ins opinion 
is frequently sought by other Pres- 
byteries when intricate problems have to 
be dealt with. In the Aberdeen Presbytery 
his influence is fully acknowledged. He 
never obtrudes his opinion, but his brethren 
know there is a competent and skilful hand 
at the helm, and not only does he beget 
confidence in his strength, but he is withal 
so genial, so accessible, so kindly and 
sympathetic as to dispel any feeling of 
officialism. 

Amongst those who rendered lasting ser- 
vice to the cause at Ruthrieston in its 
early days there were several whose names 
were well known in the community, 
prominent among them being the late 
Baillie M'Hardy, whose helpful interest in 
the church is worthily maintained to-day 
by his son, Mr. David M'Hardy of Cran- 
ford. Mr. M'Hardy has served the church 
with a devotion it would be difficult to 
excel, both as congregational treasurer and 
Sunday School superintendent, for over 40 
years. The present session clerk is Mr, 
Alexander Forbes, headmaster of Holburn 
Street Public School, and Mr. George 
Cargil is clerk to the Deacons' Court. 
Various interests are represented both in 
the ranks of the office-bearers and in the 
general body of the membership, profes- 
sional and business men associating freely 
with the artisan and working classes. 

Ruthrieston Church has always been con- 
spicuous for its interest in the young, and 
not a little of its success is due to this 
fact. It has also sought to serve the dis- 
trict in various ways, as witness the recent 
formation of a quoiting club, with Mr. 
Semple as president, to utilise the plot of 
ground adjoining the church. The members 
have all along been characterised by a 
sturdy self-reliance, which has carried them 
unaided over many a difficulty. Perhaps 
most outstanding of all, however, has been 
the remarkable harmony which has always 
prevailed. It is said that neither in the 
kirk-session nor deacons' court has any 
question of policy ever been carried to a 
vote during all the years of the congrega- 
tion's history. Surely this is an enviable 
record. 



It will be satisfactory to many in Aberdeen 
and elsewhere to know that a memor.al of 
the late Rev. Dr John Longinu; has now found 
a pl.ice in King Street U.K. Church, where the 
congregation, to wnicb he so long ministered, 
is n^w worshipping. It is long since Dr Long- 
muir passed (rum the scene, and it is interest- 
ing to note how a permanent memorial of had 
mmistiy h-s come to be erected after the lapse 
of so many years. 

♦ ♦♦♦♦ 

When the united congregation which now 
bears the name of King Street sold the old 
church in Nelson Street, the office-bearers 
found themselves in possession of %ome pn-perty 
wlljh had to be removed from the buiid.ug, 
including a marble tablet to the memory cf 
the Rev. Thomas Brown, the hrst minister of 
the church. It was fittingly decided to give i' 
I a place in the King Street Church buildings, 
and it was at the same time resolved tljit a 
new tablet of similar des gu should also be 
ierected to the memorv of Dr Longrouir, who 
was the first minister of the other branch of 
th" united congregation. The scheme has tow 
been carried to a successful completion, and 
the two tablets have been erected side, by side 
on the waKs of the session room. 

+ ♦♦♦» 

The tablet just erected in memory of Dr 
Longmuir bears the fallowing inscription: — 
Defunctus, Adhuo. Lo-oquibur. 
In Memori-rn. 
Rev. John Longmuir, M.A., LL.D., minis- 
ter of Marine-s' Church, Comn:e oe St > ■&. 
from 1843 till his d-oath, in hi? 80th year, 7ih 
May, 1833. A faithful pastor and a dili^ont 
student of science and literature, ne render-jj 
useful service to his time by voice and p«.u, 
ar.A bv a dirtinguish<-d person?.! example. In 
1903 the congregation moved to King- ? 
and w»a known as St Andrew's C F. Chu c.i. 
In 1909 this congregat'on and Nelson St-;et 
TJ.F. Church were united, forming now King 

t D.P. Church congrrgat'on. 
Erected by the eor><?"-e'»arNon of King Street 
D.F. Church. 
♦ » ♦ ♦♦ 

Although it is so long since Dr LongTrmiir's 
connection with the Mariners' ChuTch came to 
an er.d there are some office-bearers in connec- 
tion with the congregation to-day who were in 
office under his ministry. At least two can be 
traced — Mr John Edward, who was one of his 
elders, and Mr H. F. Allan, who was a deacon, 
and it is largely due to their efforts that this 
memorial has now been erected. The whole 
incident is an interesting and pleasing link 

i with the past. _ , 7/*/ 

■♦♦»♦♦ -*~-z- '/'fi x 



XLV.— ST. ANDREW'S UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




St. Andrew's U.F. Church. 

This congregation has undergone several 
transformations in the course of its his- 
tory. It has had four names, three 
churches, and two ministers. This is in 
direct contrast to the general rule. In the 
majority of cases the order is reversed by 
the frequency with which ministers are 
changed, and the reluctance with which 
any alteration is permitted in the names of 
churches, notwithstanding their removal to 
new buildings. 

The first we hear of the congregation was 
in 1839 and 1840, when it met in a building 
in Sugarhouse Lane commonly, if not 
officially, known as the Sailors' Church. 
From the outset the membership was 
almost entirely confined to the seafaring 
classes, and this continued to be one of the 
distinctive features during many succeed- 
ing years. The old church in Sugarhouse 
Lane was used as an Industrial School, 
until Sheriff Watson's School was opened. 
On removal to Commerce Street the new 
building was formally designated the 
Mariners' Church, and this name found a 
place in the ecclesiastical annals of the city 
for well nigh half a century. A fortunate 
choice was made in selecting as the minister 
Rev. John Longmuir, M.A., who was at 
the time acting as evening lecturer in 
Trinity Church. The evening lectureship 
was then a recognised position, and several 
who occupied it in connection with Trinity 
Church afterwards rose to distinction, two 
of the most notable examples being fur- 
nished in the persons of Dr. Kidd and Dr. 



Longmuir. The lectureship proved an ex- 
cellent training for the duties of a settled 
pastorate, and when Dr. Longmuir became 
minister of the Sailors' Church he had 
already gained considerable experience of 
such a kind as to fit him in a special 
manner for the duties he had to discharge. 
He had also natural qualifications for the 
position, for from his earliest days he had 
been in lo\e with the sea and the people 
who go down to the sea in ships. Finding 
himself thus in a congenial sphere, he 
threw himself into the work with enthu- 
siasm. 

The history of the Mariners' Church and 
the record of Dr. Longmuir's ministry are 
indissolubly bound up together, and to tell 
the story of the one is to tell the story of 
the other. The doctor's influence over the 
congregation was supreme. Even within 
three years after his ordination this was 
put to the proof, for at the Disruption of 
1843, when he decided to leave the Estab- 
lishment and join the Free Church, he 
carried the entire membership of the 
Mariners' Church along with him. He 
was never a popular preacher in the usual 
acceptation of the term, a certain defect 
in his articulation marring to a large ex- 
tent the effect of his public utterances. 
Yet among his own people his popularity 




Mariners' Church, Commerce Street. 



180 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



was unmistakably great. His annual ser- 
mons before the departure of the sailors 
for their U6ual period at sea were great 
occasions. The church, with the Bethel 
flag floating from a flagstaff above the 
entrance, and with a full-rigged 6hip hang- 
ing from the roof inside, was then crowded 
by those who were outward bound and the 
relatives and friends they were leaving 
behind. The discourse was always specially 
suited to the occasion, and although it wa.s 
often unduly prolonged, it never seemed to 
tax the patience of the hearers. The 
preacher was then at his best, while the 
congregation was in its most susceptible 
mood. Many memories clustered around 
those great and impressive gatherings. 




Rev. Dr. LoEgmuir. 

Another feature of Dr. Longmuir's work 
in the congregation was his unflinching 
advocacy of total abstinence. He was one 
of the early temperance reformers in the 
city, and was prominently identified with 
the movement as long as he lived. Tem- 
perance sentiment was far from strong in 
the Churches in those days, and strong 
temperance teaching could hardly be 
tolerated. Even of the Mariners' Church 
this was true. On one occasion Dr. Long- 
muir preached a very outspoken temper- 
ance sermon which made a great sensation, 
and was the means of causing a certain 
exodus from the ranks. Ever ready to im- 
prove the occasion, it is said that, in 
writing out the disjunction lines of those 
who were seceding, he expressed himself 
on the matter in a couplet, which he 



suggested might be the epitaph of the 
Mariners' Church — 

"What brocht this Kirk to ruin? 
Drinkin' I 
What were the ither Kirks doin'? 
Winkin' 1 

Dr. Longmuir preached in the open au- 
to great gatherings in Weighhouse Square 
and the Quay, and spent not only his 
strength but his moderate means in help- 
ing every good cause in the east end, and 
particularly on the "Shore." The variety 
of his interests and the extensive range 
of his knowledge and ability moved his 
contemporaries to wonder. On the sub- 
jects of botany, geology, and the allied 
sciences he became an acknowledged 
specialist, and he was appointed a lecturer, 
first in the Free Church College, and after- 
wards at the 1'niversity. In connection 
with the latter he received his degree of 
LL.D., which he is said to have greatly 
appreciated. He was intimately ac- 
quainted with Hugh Miller, and kept up 
a regular correspondence with him on geo- 
logical subjects. He also acquired fame as 
a lexicographer, his editing of Walker and 
Webster's English Dictionary, Walker's 
Rhyming Dictionary, and Jamieson'.s 
Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 
making his name familiar throughout the 
land. Locally, he was best known, apart 
from his ministerial work, as a poet. He 
was always writing poetry, and on all con- 
ceivable subjects. Some of his works are 
still known and valued, the most familiar 
being his "Ocean Lays," which went 
through more than one edition. Person- 
ally. Dr. Longmuir was one of the most 
genial and kindly of men. very approach- 
able to all classes in the community, and 
ever ready to lend a helping hand. His 
figure at once attracted attention like tha* 
of his contemporary, Rev. A. M. Banna- 
tyne, with whom he had much in common. 
He has been described to the life by his 
friend Mi\ A. S. Cook — " Dr. Longmuir 
was a man of powerful physique —tall, 
erect, muscular — and as he walked along 
the street with his stately step, a stout, 
tasselled stick in his hand, and his hat a 
little to one side of his large and well- 
formed head, with lustrous eyes and leonine 
face, there was no mistaking that he was 
a man of strong mental force and 
character." The doctor continued in 
active work, performing all the duties of 
his pastorate, until 1881, when Rev. A 
Murray Scott was ordained as his colleague 
and successor. The colleagueship. how- 






,»• z^^ <*£*>** ~™~*~Y- *«^v&^ o^-^ 



r 



ST. ANDREW'S UNITED FREE CHURCH 



181 



ever, was not of long duration, for, on 
7th May, 1883, Dr. Longmuir passed away 
in the eightieth year of his age, leaving 
behind him the memory of a strenuous life 
and of a singularly upright character. On 
the following Sunday appropriate reference 
to his attainments and work was made 
from his old pulpit by Principal Brown and 
Rev. Andrew Doak. 

Rev. A. Murray Scott, M.A., who since 
Dr. Longmuir's death has been sole 
minister of the church, is a native of 
Laurencekirk. He took his arts degree at 




Rev. A. Murray Scott, M.A. 

Aberdeen University, and studied divinity 
at the lo-^al Free Church College, his 
ordination to the ministry of the Mariners' 
Church taking place soon after the com- 
pletion of his course. He found the mem- 
bership then at the low figure of 150, and 
immediately set to work against the diffi- 
culties of the situation. One of the first 
things he accomplished was the changing 
of the name from Mariners' Church to 
Commerce Street Church. The time had 
passed when the seafaring community 
wished a church of their own. They even 
preferred to attend one with a less dis- 
tinctive name, while it was well-nigh an 
impossibility to get any of the other classes 
to become connected with a Mariners' 
Church. The name, however, was not the 
only difficulty to contend with. The church 
itself could boast of little more than the 



four walls and a roof ; there was absolutely 
no hall accommodation, the vestry even 
being merely a corner partitioned off in 
the* church. Then, the shifting of the 
population had set in ; more and more of 
the surrounding property was utilised for 
business premises, and the problem of 
maintaining, not to speak of extending, a 
congregation under such circumstances 
grew ever more acute. It became a posi- 
tive necessity to look out for a site on 
which to build a new church, but year 
after year passed before anything definite 
was accomplished. At length, after various 
suggestions and proposals for a movement 
to other localities, it was agreed, with the 
approval of the Presbytery, to proceed 
with the erection of a church and 
halls on the present excellent site at the 
corner of King Street and Urquhart Road. 
The new building — which, it was decided, 
should be known as St. Andrew's Church — 
was formally opened on 25th January, 
1903, by Dr. Ross Taylor, of Glasgow. 

It is impossible as yet to estimate 
fully the benefit of the change, al- 
though it has been justified by what 
has been already accomplished. The 
congregation left Commerce Street with 
a roll of 250, and since then nearly 
150 members have been added. The 
large and growing industrial and working- 
class population amid which the church is 
situated provides an excellent field for 
active work, and full advantage is being 
taken of the opportunities for service. Mr. 
Murray Scott, notwithstanding his valu- 
able work as a member of the School 
Board, and in other public capacities, has 
devoted himself with marked energy and 
skill of organisation to his new field of 
operations. In the admirably equipped 
church buildings, with their halls and 
class-rooms, contrasting so favourably with 
the lack of accommodation in bygone years, 
a great variety of work is now being con- 
ducted. Sabbath schools and other 
agencies for the young, societies for the 
women of the district, and other organisa- 
tions are in full operation, and systematic- 
visitation is carried on in the densely 
populated streets immediately surround- 
ing the church. Nothing of a distinctly 
novel character has been attempted. The 
services, although brighter and more 
attractive than in the old days, have no 
surprisingly new feature, and the various 
departments of work ai - e continued on 
familiar lines. This does not indicate any 
lack of enterprise on the part of the con- 
gregation. It denotes rather the purpose 



182 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



by which it is animated. It aims, not at 
reaching the masses in miscellaneous 
crowds, but at gathering in and building 
up a solid membership from families resi- 
dent in the surrounding locality. It is no 
longer, either in name or in reality^ the 
church of the sailors, but it is emphatically 
a church of the people. It is composed 
almost exclusively of the working classes, 
and therein, perhaps, lies one of the hopes 
of its future usefulness and progress in the 
locality in which it is placed. 

Negotiations having been opened by the 
Presbytery for the promotion of a union 



between the congregation and that of 
Nelson Street, the matter was duly con- 
sidered in all its bearings. Ultimately the 
union of the two congregations was formally 
consummated on 5th September, 1909, the 
scheme finally approved providing for the 
retention of the ministers of both churches 
on an equal footing as colleagues in the 
pastoral charge. Under the agreement it 
was also arranged that St. Andrew's 
Church should be the place of worship of 
the united congregation, under the new 
designation of King Street United Free 
Church. 



XLVI.— ST. CLEMENT'S UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




St. Clement's D.F. Church. 

The effect of the Disruption in Aberdeen 
was felt nowhere more severely than in the 
Footdee district. The minister of the 
parish of St. Clement's at the time was 
Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Alexander Spence, 
whose sympathies with the Non-Intrusion 
party were well known to his congregation 
Mr. Spence was a member of the General 
Assembly of 1843, and he "came out" 
with the founders of the Free Church and 
took part in the historic proceedings of the 
occasion. While he was thus engaged in 
Edinburgh, his friends in Aberdeen were 
not idle. It was evident from the first 
that a very large proportion of the St. 
Clement's membership would follow their 
minister, and this was soon proved by the 
practical steps that were taken in the 
matter. It was decided to proceed imme- 
diately with the erection of a wooden 
church, to be ready, if possible, by the time 
Mr. Spence returned from the Assembly. 
The carrying out of the details was re- 
mitted to a committee, the members of 
which certainly executed their commission 
both with economy and despatch. They 
contracted with Mr. Ewen, wright, father 
of Eev. William Ewen, senior minister of 
Fyvie U.F. Church, to erect the building. 
According to the agreement, the material 
was to be the property of the contractor 
after the church was vacated, and this re- 
duced the cost of the erection to the very 



moderate sum of £5b 4s. lU^d. A good site 
was secured. A gardener, William Came- 
ron, then held garden ground extending 
from Baltic Street to the Links, from a 
builder of the name of Chalmers. Cameron 
consented to allow the building to be 
erected on the part of his ground forming 
the north-west corner of Baltic Street, and 
the tradesmen were soon at work. When 
Chalmers heard of what was being done, 
lie presented a petition to the Sheriff to in- 
terdict the building, the petition being 
lodged by his agent, Mr. Ludovic Stewart, 
advocate, who, curiously enough, happened 
to be the brother-in-law of Dr. William 
Paul, of Banchory-Devenick, who was then 
clerk of the Established Church Presbytery 
of Aberdeen. It leaked out that such an 
application was to be made, and a caveat 
was lodged, craving to be heard before in- 
terdict should be granted. Sheriff Watson, 
when the petition came before him, said he 
would visit the place on the following day 
and see the state of matters for himself. 
When the Building Committee heard of 
this, they immediately engaged a large 
staff of workmen ; operations were carried 
on through the night with the utmost 
vigour, and the erection was almost entirely 
roofed in ere morning. The Sheriff, accom- 
panied by Mr. Stewart, acting for Mr. 
Chalmers, and Mr. George Allan (then an 
advocate's clerk), representing the congre- 
gation, arrived in course of the forenoon, 
only to hnd that the building, against the 
erection of which interdict had been craved, 
was already an accomplished fact. Under 
the circumstances, the petition was natur- 
ally refused, and no more wa6 heard of the 
matter. 

When Mr. Spence returned from the 
Assembly he was astonished to find the 
large wooden church ready for occupancy, 
and in this structure he preached to a great 
congregation on Sunday, 4th June, 1843, 
the first Sunday of the separate existence 
of the Free Church. This building, it may 
be noted, was the first place of worship 
erected for the Free Church in Aberdeen, 
and one of the first in Scotland, seeing it 
was raised from the foundation in the few 
days between the date of the Disruption 
and the first Sunday afterwards. The col- 
lections at the opening services amounted 
to £15 16s. Id. Mr. Spence and his people 



184 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



continued to worship in the wooden church 
until the completion of the stone and lime 
building which they were erecting in Prince 
Regent Street. To this more permanent 
place of worship they removed on 8th 
October, 1843, the opening services taking 
place on the Communion Sunday. The 
sittings had all been let in a few hours on 
the Monday previous, and the unusual re- 
quest was made in an intimation that 
strangers would not attend on the opening 
Sunday, as the church would be much 
crowded with the regular worshippers. 
Additional accommodation had soon to be 
provided by erecting an end gallery, but 




Old Free St. Clement's Church, 
Prince Regent Street. 

the extra 250 sittings were also let imme- 
diately. Mr. Spence had filled the Parish 
Church to overflowing during his ministry 
there, and it can be seen that the 6ame 
success attended his work in the Free 
Church. He also continued to take an 
active part in the proceedings of the 
Church Courts and in the affairs of the 
Church at large. JNo man, perhaps, ren- 
dered more effective service in the task of 
organising and consolidating the Free 
Church throughout Aberdeenshire than 
Mr. Spence. He travelled all over the 
county — and often far beyond it— and exer- 
cised quite a remarkable influence. His 
tenure of office as clerk of the Aberdeen 



Presbytery also afforded scope for his busi- 
ness and administrative ability, and enabled 
him to accomplish valuable and lasting 
work. Nor was it only in matters purely 
ecclesiastical and religious that his activi- 
ties and zeal were displayed. In all philan- 
thropic efforts he was deeply interested, 
and gave much of his time to their further- 
ance, Sheriff Watson's Industrial School 
work enlisting his special sympathy. Then, 
in still another sphere, Dr. Spence (he re- 
ceived the degree of D.D. from Aberdeen 
University in 1866) was considered worthy 
of honour. In February, 1879, he was 
elected patron of the Incorporated Trader-. 
in succession to Dr. Forsyth, of the West 
Parish, being the first Free Churchman to 
hold the position. 

Dr. Spence carried on with wonderful 
vigour the various enterprises in which he 
was interested, but in 1860 a somewhat 
serious illness, together with the weight of 
advancing years, led him to give the con- 
gregation permission to make arrangements 
for the appointment of an assistant. The 
following young probationers were asked to 
preach as candidates: — Rev. Charles G. 
M'Crie (now the well-known Dr. Bi'Crie, 
of Ayr, ex-Moderator of the General As- 
sembly), Kev. J. \V. Laurie (afterwards of 
Tulliallan), and Rev. Marcus Dods (after- 
wards the famous Principal Marcus Dods, 
of Edinburgh). Mr. John Einslie, then a 
divinity student, afterwards minister of 
Kennethmont Free Church, and subse- 
quently well known as Dr. Emslie, of 
Christchurch, New Zealand, was not a can- 
didate, but he was very popular with 
the congregation, and when the voting 
took place, Mr. Marcus Dods wa.s 
the only candidate who received any votes. 
while tha majority declared for Mr. Emslie. 
The minority declined to withdraw, and 
the majority abandoned their case: but. 
in the interval. Dr. Spence recovered and 
resumed the sole work of the pastorate. 
In 1878 the increasing frailties of age in- 
duced him to withdraw from active work 
and apply for the appointment of a col- 
league and successor. A happy settlement 
was effected in May of that year by the 
induction of Rev. Andrew D. Donaldson. 
M.A. Dr. Spence was liberally dealt with 
by the congregation on his retirement, and 
between him and hi6 colleague there existed 
throughout the years in which they were 
associated together the most harmonious 
relations— a state of matters equally 
creditable to both men. From time to 
time Dr. Spence occupied his old pulpit, 
and his interest in St. Clement's continued 
unabated until his death, which occurred 



Aberdeen Minister to Retire. 

The Tlev. A. D. Donaldson, St Clement's U F 
Church. Aberdeen, who will in 1914 complete 
the 39th year of his ministry, has indicated to 
his office-bearers that he is to make application 

I to the next General Aseembly for a colleague 
and successor. Mr Donaldson was ordained 

I to the pastorate of GaUatown Free Church 
Kirkcaldy 1875, and after throe years in that 
charge he was inducted as colleague and suc- 
cessor to the late Dr Spenoe (St Clement's 
Church) in May, 1878. Mr Donaldson is there- 
fore in the 39th year of a ministry which has 
been a strenuous one. 



^JV.~/c~. *S- J1r 'V/tyL 



^ ?/'/'?' 



ST. CLEMENT'S IXLTED FUEE CHURCH 



185 



on 30th August, 1890 — 12 years after his 
withdrawal from active duty. The pass- 
ing away of one who had for so long rilled 
bo prominent a position in the community 
was an event which affected the whole city. 
Dr. Spence was more than merely an out- 
standing minister ; he was one of the fore- 
most public men in Aberdeen in his day. 
It was therefore fitting that he received a 
public funeral, attended by the Lord 
Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council in 
their official capacity. In the death of Dr. 
Spence there passed away the last survivor 
of the band of Disruption ministers in 
Aberdeen who left in a body the Established 
Church in the momentous times of 1813. 
The city was also poorer by the loss of a 
man of earnest devotion to the highest in- 
terests of the people, and one whose sin- 
cerity of spirit and singleness of purpose 
as a minister of the Gospel were ever be- 
yond, question. His portrait, by Sir George 
Reid, was placed in the hall of the In- 
corporated Trades. 

Rev. A. D. Donaldson, M.A., who be- 
came colleague and successor to Dr. Spence 
in 1878, is a native of Aberdeen, and in 
early life he spent five years in the employ- 
ment of Mr. George Shepherd, bookseller, 
Broad Street, whose shop occupied part of 
the site on which the Townhouse now 
stands. Having devoted considerable time 
to reading and study, Mr. Donaldson ulti- 
mately decided to prepare himself for 
entering the ministry, and, abandoning 
business pursuits, he attended the famed 
Grammar School at Old Aberdeen, then 
under Cosmo Grant, and in 1867 entered 
King's College as a bursar — graduating 
M.A. in 1871. Before he entered on his 
college course he had been accustomed to 
take part in Christian work of various 
kinds in connection with the Free North 
Church, then under the ministry of Rev. 
George Campbell. Between his third and 
fourth session in arts he was appointed 
student missionary in Gallowgate Free 
Church under Rev. James Goodall : and, 
in addition to visiting and other work, he 
had to undertake the third service in the 
church on Sundays. In October, 1871, he 
entered the Free Church College, Aber- 
deen, and studied under Dr. David Brown 
and Dr. Robertson Smith ; but in the 
autumn of 1872 he was offered the appoint- 
ment of missionary at Addiewell, a preach- 
ing station under the church at West 
Calder, of which Principal Iverach was 
then minister. Having accepted this post, 
be then attended New College, Edinburgh, 
travelling daily from Addiewell until he 
was appointed missionary in North Leith 



Church under the noted Dr. Robert 
M'Donald. After receiving three invita- 
tions, Mr. Donaldson returned to Addie- 
well (where an iron church had been 
erected) in the autumn of 1871 ; and in 
March, 1875, he completed his course at 
the New College, and was licensed by the 
Presbytery of Linlithgow. Shortly after- 
wards, he was unanimously asked to be- 
come probationer in charge of Galatown 
Church, Kirkcaldy, and when the church, 
a few months later, was raised to the 
status of a regular charge, he became its 
first minister, and was ordained in Septem- 




Rev. A. D. Donaldson, M.A. 

ber, 1875, Profe&sor Stalker, then minister 
of St. Brycedale Church, Kirkcaldy, 
preaching on the occasion. Mr. Donald- 
son's ministry there was a short one, as 
in May, 1878, he was, as already mentioned, 
called to St. Clement's as colleague and 
successor to Dr. Spence, and returned to 
his native city to take up what has proved 
to be his life-work. Before leaving Gala- 
town, however, he saw the congregation 
considerably increased in numbers, the 
church enlarged, and a manse erected. 

One of the earliest movements initiated 
in St. Clement's after Mr. Donaldson's 
settlement was that for the erection of a 
new church. The old church was found to 



18(3 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



be in need of extensive repairs, and, in 
view of the architect's report, and also 
having regard to the need for hall and 
other accommodation necessary for work 
amongst the young, it was decided to pro- 
ceed to the erection of a new edifice. The 
old church in Prince Regent Street was 
purchased by Sir William Henderson for 
the use of the Gaelic-speaking Highland 
fishermen who came to Aberdeen, but the 
scheme of work did not prove the success 
which had been anticipated, and it was 
ultimately given up. The building was 
afterwards rented by the Salvation Army, 
but they also abandoned it after a short 
time, and in 1899 it pased into the hands 
of the Episcopalians. Rev. John Comper, 
of St. Margaret's opened it as a mission, 
and it is now known as St. Clement's Epis- 
copal Church. The closing services in the 
eld church were conducted by Mr. Donald- 
son in the forenoon and Dr. Spence in the 
evening ; and on 15th September, 1883, the 
present handsome edifice was opened for 
public worship, the special preachers on 
the occasion being Principal Rainy and 
Rev. George Davidson, B.Sc, of St. 
Mary's, Edinburgh. Since then the work 
of the congregation has been prosecuted 
with vigour and success, and, in addition 
to the flourishing Sunday School, Band of 
Hope, and other agencies, a district mis- 
sion has also been carried on in Links 
IStreet under a lay missionary. Mr. 
Donaldson takes a personal share in all 
the work — superintending the Sabbath 
School, presiding weekly over the flourish- 
ing savings bank, and in other respects 
keeping in close touch with all that is 
^"ing on. 

From the origin of the congregation to 
the present day, St. Clement's Church has 
never lacked men of standing and influence 
in its membership. Mr. George Allan, 
advocate, is now the sole survivor of the 
notable band of men who led the people at 
the Disruption. Even then Mr. Allan was 
one of the foremost of the leaders, and as 
time pased his influence became still 
greater. Although latterly connected with 
Queen's Cross Church, of which also he was 
one of the founders, his interest in St. 
Clement's and particularly in the stirring 
days of its early history, is still unabated. 
Amongst others connected with the con 
gregation, either in the past or present 
there may be mentioned: — Mr. Alexander 
Anderson, manager of the Northern Agri- 
cultural Company ; Mr. James Inglis, Mr. 
Alexander Davidson (of J. and A. David- 



son), Dean of Guild Maedonald, Mr. Robert 
Sangster, flesher, Mr. Alexander Lyon, 
Sir Alexander Lyon, Mr. Hugh Munro, 
superintendent of harbour works : ex- 
Councillor John Skinner, Mr. David An- 
derson, Mr. Alexander Findlay, superin- 
tendent of cleansing ; Parish Councillors 
Bowman and Sangster ; and ex-Factor 
A. S. Mackay, of the Incorporated Trades. 
These names may suffice, although the 
list could be greatly extended, for it has 
been remarked that "everybody who was 
anybody in Footdee was connected with 
St. Clement's." 

Within recent years, with the trend of 
the population westward, and the changed 
aspect of whole streets in the locality, the 
congregation has felt to some extent the 
strain of new conditions. Other circum- 
stances have also militated against the 
success of building up a congregation in the 
district where the church is placed, yet it 
is no small tribute to minister and people 
to say that the membership, which was 578 
at the time of Mr. Donaldson's settlement 
ir 1878, is now over 700. It is worthy of 
mention that Mr. Donaldson and Rev. Dr. 
U. U. Macdonald, of fc>t. Clement's Parish 
Church, have frequently exchanged pulpits, 
thus testifying to the better spirit which 
now exists as compared with the years sub- 
sequent to 1843, when footdee was in a 
general state of excitement and ecclesias- 
tical unrest, and feeling ran high between 
the two churches. 

Every congregation provides for its 
poor. but. perhaps, only St. Clem- 
ent's can boast of a Meal and Coal 
Fund. Certainly this has been a distinc- 
tive feature of its work, and the " Meal 
and C'oal-y sermon." as Dr. Longmuir used 
to style it, was, and still is, one of the 
events of the year. For long it was re- 
gularly preached by Dr. Davidson, of the 
West Church, and since hi6 death some 
prominent minister has always been 
secured for the duty. 

The liberal spirit with which new modes 
of worship have been viewed has always 
been conspicuous in the congregation. The 
introduction of hymns and organs, the 
practice of standing at praise, and other 
innovations, were introduced while they 
were still regarded as innovations, 
and introduced without any split or 
even division of opinion : and the 
same spirit of forbearance and the same 
freedom from the trappings of convention 
may be said to be conspicuous of the con- 
gregation to-day. 



XLVII.— ST. COLUMBA UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




St. Columba U.F. Church. 

The St. Columba Church was the direct 
descendant of the Gaelic Church of former 
years. It had behind it more than a 
century of continuous history, with which 
there is bound up practically the whole 
record of the religious life of the Celtic 
portion of the community. 

The first colony of Gaelic-speaking High- 
landers settled in or near Aberdeen was 
one established on the south side of the 
Bay of Nigg in 1758, when a Mr. Adams, 
of London, brought them there to cut 
granite setts. Somewhat later in the same 
century another large Gaelic -speaking 
colony grew up at Printfield (Wuodside), 
and in the barracks there was almost con- 
stantly a large number of Gaelic-speaking 
soldiers. For a time there was a steady 
influx of Highlanders in search of employ- 
ment at the public works in the city and 
the granite quarries in the neighbourhood, 
their numbers increasing to such an ex- 
tent that it was found necessary to in- 
stitute special means for supplying them 
with religious ordinances. This, however, 
was no easy matter, for there were very 



few who were proficient enough in their 
knowledge of Gaelic to be able to preach 
to these people in the only language which, 
they could understand. Dr. Ronald 
Bayne, afterwards minister of Kiltarlity, 
was the first to take active steps in the 
matter, and he was the means of found- 
ing the Gaelic congregation of Aberdeen. 
Dr Bayne had gone to India as chaplain 
to the 42nd Highlanders in 1780, but his 
health having failed, he returned to this 
country in 1784 and settled in Aberdeen 
near some of his wife's relatives. His at- 
tention was soon directed to the moral 
destitution of the Highlanders in the city 
and district, whose condition appealed to 
him as that of sheep without a shepherd. 
With the concurrence of Mr. Abercrombie, 
one of the city ministers, Dr Bayne as- 
sembled the Highlanders in the East 
Church in 1785, and held Gaelic services 
every Sunday morning before the regular 
hour of worship. In 1788 the company 
thus gathered together had grown to be 
a numerous congregation, and being in a 
position to pay a minister of their own, 
they formed themselves into the " Gaelic 
Society of Aberdeen," and applied to the 
magistrates for permission to fit up St. 
Mary'6 Chapel under the East Church for 
their accommodation. The application was 
granted, and in 1789 or 1790 they 
furnished the chapel with seats and a 
reading desk, and entered into possession 
of it. To attest their responsibility, the 
Gaelic Society associated with themselves 
as managers four well-known citizens, viz. 
— Mr. Colquhon MacGregor, merchant; 
Mr. James Chalmers, printer ; Mr. Pat- 
rick Robertson, leather merchant; arid 
Mr. John Ewen, merchant. 

Dr. Ronald Bayne left in 1791 to become 
minister of the Little Kirk at Elgin, and 
he was succeeded in the pastorate at Aber- 
deen by his brother, Rev. Kenneth Bayne, 
who was described as " his equal and con- 
temporary in the Christian life, but his 
inferior in natural abilities." During the 
ministry of Mr. Kenneth Bayne the con- 
gregation resolved to purchase or erect a 
church for themselves. They obtained a 
feu on what afterwards came to be known 
by its present designation of Gaelic Lane, 
between Belmont Street and Back Wynd. 
but what seems then to have been a 



188 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



garden sloping steeply to the Green. The 
building was founded on 10th March, 
1795, but before its completion another 
change occurred in the pastorate of the 
congregation. Rev. Kenneth Bayne ac- 
cepted a call to Greenock, where he made 
so great an impression that it is recorded 
that many of the citizens of Greenock who 
did not understand Gaelic went to the 
Highlands for the express purpose of 
acquiring the language in order that they 
might be in a position to profit by his 
preaching. His immediate successor at 
Aberdeen was Rev. John Mackenzie, who 
conducted the opening services in the new 
Gaelic Chapel on 30th August, 1795. A 
register still exists of the subscribers to 
the building fund of the chapel, and in it 
there are to be found the names of some pro- 
minent citizens of the time, such as 
Messrs. John Ewen and James Chalmers, 
both managers; Mr. Alexander Hadden 
of Persley, of the firm of Moir and Sons; 
Mr. Alexander Webster, advocate ; and 
Professors MacLeod, Copland, and Hamil- 
ton ; while the largest corporate sub- 
scription was from the Beadalbane Regi- 
ment of Highlanders, then quartered in 
the city. 

Mr. Mackenzie was translated in 1798 
to Glasgow, where he became minister 
of the Duke Street Gaelic Chapel, and 
ho was succeeded in Aberdeen by Rev. 
James MacPhail, second son of the revered 
Rev. Hector MacPhail, of Resolis, whom 
he very much resembled in the simplicity 
of his Christian character. He remained 
only a year, and after him came Rev 
William Forbes, concerning whom it was 
said that his ministry in Aberdeen was 
'' brief in point of time, but eternal in 
regard to it6 real effects." Mr. Forbes 
was a profound and Scriptural divine, 
and a man of distinctive personality. His 
pastoral work was characterised by great 
fidelity^, and his pulpit exercises in both 
languages were accurate, able, and deeply 
impressive. " His temperament," re- 
marked his brother-in-law — Rev. Donald 
Sage — " was intensely nervous, and often 
threw him into moods of feeling the very 
reverse of each other — at one time in high 
spirits, laughing until his eyes ran over 
at his own anecdotes, told with no 
ordinary powers of humour and drollery- — 
at another sunk in the deepest gloom. 
which his countenance, naturally dark 
and sallow, was peculiarly well fitted to 
express." Mr. Forbes became minister of 
the parish of Tarbat, in Ros.s-shiro, in 
1800, and to the vacancy the congregation 



recalled their former pastor — Rev. John 
Mackenzie. Mr. Mackenzie did not then 
aecejit the recall, and the vacancy was 
filled by the appointment of Rev. Neil 
Kennedy, who was inducted in November, 
1804, and remained until 1808. Mr. 
Kennedy was an eminently pious minister 
— a man of prayer, and rich in Christian 
experiences. He left for Logie, in Easter 
Ross, where he spent the rest of his life, 
and the Aberdeen congregation again re- 
called Rev. John Mackenzie. This time 
Mr. Mackenzie readily returned, and he 
remained in Aberdeen until 1813, when 
he was recalled to Glasgow, not, however, 
to his former charge, but to undertake 
the pastorate of a newly-formed Gael c 
congregation in the Gorbals district. In 
1814 Rev. Duncan Grant, then a teacher 
at Fortrose, was called, and he continued 
in the charge until 1819, bestowing on the 
congregation as a parting gift the solid 
uilver cups which ever after were used 
at the Communion services. 

'Jlie next minister was Rev. Donald 
Sage, who afterwards became so well 
known throughout the whole of the 
Highlands. Mi". Sr.ge was settled in 
Aberdeen in July, 1819, and he was 
the first minister of the congrega- 
tion inducted by the Presbytery, for, in 
course of the same year, the church had 
been constituted a Chapel of Ease. In his 
" Memorabilia Domestiea," Mr. Sage has 
given an interesting account of his im- 
pressions and early experiences in Aber- 
deen. "When I first settled among them.'' 
he 6ays, " I found the Gaelic congregation 
to be a very respectable one. My annual 
income was £150, of this amount £10 be- 
ing paid by the S.P.C.K. The stated ser- 
vices on every Lord's Day were — a ser- 
mon forenoon and afternoon in the Gaelic- 
language and an optional English sermon 
or lecture in the evening. During the 
winter I usually lectured in English at 
six o'clock on Sabbath evening, but in 
summer I devoted that portion of the 
Sabbath, as well as week days, to the 
duty of catechising. I commenced my 
catechetical exercises among them by 
family visitation, which I found to be at 
once satisfactory to myself and edifying 
and acceptable to the people." Mr. Sage 
maintained friendly relations with a num- 
ber of his contemporaries in the Aberdeen 
pulpit, and especially with Dr. Kidd, of 
Gilcomston. For the Highlanders Dr. 
Kidd had a strong feeling of attachment, 
and during Sacramental seasons in the 
Gaelic Chapel, he and his people always 



ST. COLUMBA UNITED FREE CHURCH 



189 



attended the lectures on the evenings of 
Thursday and Sunday. Mr. Sage resigned 
the charge in December, 1821, on being 
appointed to the parish of Resolis, where 
he was destined to spend a long and 
honoured ministry of 48 years. He be- 
came one of the most influential men in 
the Highlands during the troubled year.': 
that preceded the Disruption and the 
anxious ones that followed it, and it may 
be mentioned as a proof of his hold on his 
own large congregation that in 1843 they 
followed him in a body without a single 
dissentient into the Free Church of Scot- 
land. Mr. Sage was intimately connected 
with several of the leading families in the 
Church in the Highlands, and not a few 
of his descendants have found places of 
honour in the ministry. Two of his grand- 
sons became well known to Aberdonians — 
Rev. William Mackintosh Mackay, 
formerly minister of the South United 
Free Church, and his brother, the late 
Rev. Dr. Donald Sage Mackav, of New 
York. 

Rev. Robert Clark, from Tongue, suc- 
ceeded Mr. Sage in Aberdeen in 1822, but 
his ministry was a very short one. He 
resigned on 7th April, 1823, his early de- 
parture being caused by his delicate 
health, which was' found unequal to the 
strain of the work or the rigours of the 
Aberdeen climate. The next minister was 
Rev. Hugh Mackenzie, who was inducted 
in August, 1823, and whose pastorate ex- 
tended far beyond the limits of that of 
any of his predecessors. Several de- 
velopments took place during his long 
tenure of the charge. The first was in 
1835, when the Gaelic Chapel of Ease was 
erected into a "quoad 6acra " charge as 
Spring-Garden Parish Church, the reason 
for the name not being very obvious, 
seeing the church was actually situated 
some distance from the street known 
as Spring-Garden. The tokens used by 
the congregation at Communion seasons 
were inscribed "Spring-Garden (Gaelic) 
Parish Church, Aberdeen, 1835." The 
inscription on the reverse was in Gaelic, 
and was hardly likely to have been in- 
telligible to the bulk of those within the 
designated parish of Spring-Garden. The 
next important development was at the 
Disruption in 1843, when the whole of the 
congregation followed their minister into 
the Free Church. An interesting corre- 
spondence took place between the man- 
agers and the Presbytery clerk — then Dr. 
Paul, of Banehory-Devenick. Dr. Paul, 
by instruction of the Presbytery, wrote 



the preses of the managers that " in con- 
sequence of Uev. Mr. Mackenzie having 
ceased to be a minister of the Established 
Church of Scotland," the Spring-Garden 
Church had become vacant. To this the 
managers responded by saying that " they 
have only to reply that not only Rev. Mi- 
Mackenzie, but all the congregation, so 
far as known to them, had ceased their 
connection with the Church of Scotland 
as by law established." There the matter 
was apparently allowed to rest, and the 
association of the Gaelic Chapel with the 
Church of Scotland came to an end in so 
far as Aberdeen was concerned. The 
changed conditions did not in any way de- 
tract from the prosperity and influence of 
the congregation. Mr. Mackenzie became 
highly esteemed in the community, and 
the Gaelic Chapel came to occupy 
quite a distinctive place in the religious 
life of the city. From 1823 until nearly 
the end of the " 'forties," Dr. Macdonald, 
of Ferintosh, assisted at almost every 
yearly Communion, and when he was ab- 
sent the Kennedys, of Dingwall or Red- 
castle, or other noted Highland ministers, 
were sure to be present. On these 
occasions great congregations were at- 
tracted to the old church in Gaelic Lane. 
The building was usually packed in every 
corner, passages and stairs being gladlv 
taken advantage of for either sitting or 
standing room, and it was no uncommon 
occurrence for the minister to have to 
find his way to the pulpit from the side 
door of the church leading from the 
vestry by climbing over the seats. These 
were, indeed, memorable days, which fre- 
quenters of the Gaelic Chapel often loved 
to recall. 

Mr. Mackenzie, who served the congre- 
gation so long and faithfully, was a native 
of Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire, and a 
student both in Arts and Divinity at 
Aberdeen. Soon after being licensed, he 
was called to a sphere of labour on the 
banks of Loch Tay, preaching on alternate 
Sundays at Ardeonaig and Lawers, on 
opposite sides of the loch. His ministra- 
tions having proved acceptable, he was 
ordained and settled as pastor of the 
double charge in 1822, but his stay in the 
district was of short duration. In the 
following year he was called to the Gaelic 
Chapel in Aberdeen, and there he spent 
practically the whole of his ministerial 
life. Mr. Mackenzie was a man of solid 
and varied acquirements. Although 
habitually of a reserved and unobtrusive 
disposition, yet those who knew him most 



190 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



intimately felt that fchey came in contact 
with a mind of .superior calibre. Though 
not gifted with great eloquence, he was an 
able and effective, preacher, and his ser- 
mons were characterised by a soundness 
of doctrine, a depth of thought, and an 
evangelical tone which commended them 
to those who were best able to judge. Mr. 
Mackenzie had a high conception of his 
office, and lie discharged its duties with 
the utmost faithfulness and entirely with- 
out assistance for over 33 years. In 185fcj 
the growing infirmities of age rendered it 
necessary for him to apply for the ap- 
pointment of a colleague and successor, 
and the choice of the congregation fell 
upon Rev. Colin Sinclair. There never 
was a happier collegiate ministry. Be 
tween Mr Mackenzie and Mr. Sinclair the 
most cordial and brotherly relations were 
maintained from the very first. Their 
association, however, was a short one, for 
in three years Mr. Mackenzie had passed 
to his rest, his death occurring very sud 
denly on 31st January, 1859. The Gaelic 
congregation mourned his loss, and the 
community missed an estimable and well- 
known citizen who had well served his day 
and generation. Mr. Sinclair then as- 
sumed the sole pastorate but he only re- 
mained other three years in Aberdeen, ac- 
cepting in 1862 a call to the Free Church 
at Invergordon. 

After Mr. Sinclair's departure in 1802, 
the congregation had a time of trouble 
and anxiety during a prolonged vacancy 
of two years. Two calls were issued dur- 
ing that period, but both were declined ; 
and, to make matters worse, an attempt 
was made to remove the church from the 
equal-dividend platform, and thus reduce 
its status. The members of the congrega- 
tion strongly resented this, and Inning 
the warm sympathy and support of the 
Aberdeen Presbytery, the matter was 
carried to the General Assembly. Rev. 
Principal Lumsden, Rev. Dr. Mac- 
gilvray, of Gilcomston, and Rev. John 
Adam, of the South, appeared at the bar 
of the Assembly to plead the case, along 
with Mr. Hugh Mackenzie, from the con- 
gregation. The result was a complete 
victory, the Assembly deciding un- 
animously that the position of the con- 
gregation should continue as before. Many 
members gave loyal support and valuable 
assistance to the congregation in these 
days, and none more than Mr. Donald 
Macalister, the father of Sir Donald Mac- 
alister, Principal of Glasgow University, 



who may thus be claimed as one of the 
sons of th<> Gaelic Church. 

In 18(54 a call was addressed to Rev. 
George MacDonald, whose settlement in 
the pastorate took place in August of the 
same year. Mr. MacDonald was a native 
of the Highlands, tracing hi6 descent 
from some of the best known and most 
highly respected Highland families. From 
his native glen he passed to Edinburgh, 
where he had a distinguished academic 
career, on the conclusion of which he was 
called to Aberdeen, the scene of his life- 
long ministry. On coming as a young 
man to the city, he found some kind and 
congenial friends in the ministry, those 
with whom he wa6 brought into closest 
contact being — Dr. Macgilvray, of Gil- 
comston; Rev. Charles Ross, then of 
Bon-Accord Church, and afterwards of 
Tobermory ; and Rev. Dr. J. Calder Mac- 
phail, then of the Free East. One of the 
earlier efforts of Mr. MacDonald was the 
acquiring of a manse for the congregation, 
a purpose which he achieved in 187S ; 
and four years later a change was made 
in the place of worship. The church 
in Gaelic Lane had become so old and 
dilapidated as to require entire internal 
renovation in order to he made fit for 
occupancy, and, after consideration, it 
was decided to remove from it altogether. 
The property was disposed of, and it has 
since been used as a printing office. It 
was at first proposed by some members of 
the Presbytery that the congregation 
should proceed to the erection of a new 
church in the King Street district, where 
it was felt that something might be done 
in the way of Church extension. The pro- 
posal was being favourably considered, 
when the attention of some of the members 
of the congregation was drawn to the 
church in Dee Street, which had been used 
by the Inited Free Methodists, but. in con- 
sequence of the disbanding of that con- 
gregation, was then being offered for sale. 
A purchase was effected on favourable 
terms, and the Gaelic congregation, with- 
out suffering the inconvenience of waiting 
on the erection of a new church, entered 
into possession of a building in every way 
suited for its requirements as a comfort- 
able and well-appointed place of worship. 

When the change was made in the church 
building, it was considered a fitting time 
to go a step further and change the name 
of the church. It had been felt for some 
time that the title of Gaelic Church had 
become slightly misleading. For some 
years after the church was built the ser- 



ST. GOLUMBA UNITED FREE CHURCH 



191 



vices were conducted entirely in the 
Gaelic language, with an optional English 
service in the evening ; but as the families 
of the congregation grew up, the need of 
a regular English service was greatly felt. 
At first the Gaelic afternoon service was 
superseded by one in English, and later 
on another change took place, by which 
provision was made for two services in 
English and one in Gaelic. Notwithstand- 
ing these modifications, it was known that 
many of the general public were still 
under the impression that the services 
were entirely in Gaelic, and doubtless the 
congregation suffered in consequence. It 
was, therefore, to obviate this difficulty 
and dispel any idea that the congregation 
was exclusively for those who were pro- 
ficient in the Gaelic language that it was 
resolved to alter the name of the church 
to that of St. Columba. The change 
seemed to meet with general acceptance, 
although one worthy member of Pres- 
bytery, noted for his conservative views, 
expressed himself as averse to the pro- 
posal, his objection being not to the name 
itself, but to the introduction of "Saint." 
" We have one Saint too many in Aber- 
deen already," he said, the reference be- 
ing, it is supposed, to St. Clement's — then 
the only other Free Church in the city 
with the objectionable prefix. 

The most outstanding feature of Mr. 
MacDonald's ministry, perhaps, was 
his work on behalf of students from the 
Highlands. He was from the outset as- 
sociated with Dr. Calder Macphail in the 
bursary scheme which bore the latter 's 
name, and Aberdeen became the chief place 
to which the Macphail bursars gravitated 
for school and college education. As a 
consequence, there grew up a large body 
of students in connection with Mr. Mac- 
Donald's church, and the ties that bound 
the congregation to the Highlands were 
thereby greatly strengthened. Mr. Mac- 
Donald delighted in working for these 
young men, and his fellow-ministers in the 
city and throughout the denomination 
were tver ready to place the highest value 
on (he influence which he exercised in this 
way. He abounded in hospitality towards 
the young men, delighted to have them 
around him at ill times, and directed and 
encouraged them in their studies for the 
ministry. His church became the rallying 
point for all those who came up from the 
Highlands, and there are many now 
occupying positions of honour and useful- 
ness both in the Church and in various 
spheres of business and professional Hie 



whose early years were moulded by the in- 
fluence of Mr. MacDonald's life and teach- 
ing. Among the ministers who were in 
their student days either members of or 
connected with the congregation, there may 
be mentioned — Rev. Donald M'lver, of 
the English Presbyterian Mission in 
China; the late Rev. W. J. Macdonald, 
of St. Brycedale, Kirkcaldy; Rev. Peter 
Macdonald, sometime of the Edinburgh 
Gaelic Church, afterwards of Stornoway, 
and now of Glasgow ; Rev. Walter Calder, 
sometime at Bourtreebush, and now at 
Stornoway; the late Rev. Alexander 
Mathieson, formerly of Blair-Atholl, and 
latterly of Belgrave Presbyterian Church, 
London; Rev. George Murray, Tarbet; 
the late Rev. Cathel Kerr, of Melness; 
Rev. Ranald Macdonald, of Dingwall ; 
Rev. Donald Munro, of Ferintosh ; Rev 
K. Mackenzie, of Croy ; and many others. 
Mr. MacDonald had a passionate love 
for the Gaelic language and literature, 
and took ever}' opportunity of enlarging 
and perfecting his knowledge ; while it 
was one of the chief pleasures of his life 
to form classes for the instruction of 
young men in Gaelic. It was also one of 
his greatest delights to visit his native 
Highlands from time to time to take part 
in the solemn Communion seasons, and 
especially in the searching exercises of 
"question day" in the distant north. 
Throughout the Highlands and among 
the Western Isles he became a well-known 
figure, and in Aberdeen he gained 
universal respect by his high-toned life 
and genuine earnestness. There was 

something about the man which invari- 
ably impressed those who were brought 
into contact with him. In a pen picture 
of Mr. MacDonald published during his 
Lifetime, " Deas Cromarty" said: — "His 
countenance bears the marring of the 
Christian soldier; his frame is long, lean, 
not graceful ; he has fine, thin, nervous 
hands, which hang before him and are 
wrung while he speaks. The burden of 
the poor and the lonely is on the spare 
shoulders of this tall, grizzled, worn man ; 
he knows, as he feels, more than is ever 
conveyed save by a look out of patient 
eyes, and by a strange recurrent cry amid 
the low guttural of the Highland tones. 
The sermon is long, and ideas flitter 
through it like shadows over a wide hill- 
side when the autumn day goes down. 
Suddenly, as it were the fling of the pipes, 
comes a wail charged with keen force and 
weird entreaty. You may forget what 
has been said, but you will never forget 



192 



THE CHURCHES o/-' ABERDEEN 



this cry. The wild hills are in it, nnd the 
lonely lochs under grey skies, the screigh 
of the wind through the pines; it brings 
one the sob of the forest in winter and 
the fret of the tossing stream and the 
travail of the shepherd when the snow is 
heaping silent doom in the glen. It is 
the Gaelic voice to the Gaelic soul, and 
those who have heard Mr. MacDonald 
preach in the old tongue feel most of what 
he is and might be. - ' 

Mr. MacDonald served the church in 
Aberdeen for well-nigh 34 years, con- 




Rev. A. F. Campbell. 

tinning in the pastorate until his death 
on 4th March, 1898. The Gaelic congrega- 
tion were ever loyal to their ministers, and 
they are faithful to their memory. Over 
the grave of Mr. Mackenzie in St. 
Nicholas Churchyard they erected a hand- 
some granite obelisk ; while Mr. Mac- 
Donald's last resting-place in Allenvale 
Cemetery is marked by a fine Iona cross, 
the loving tribute of attached members 
and friends. 

In the vacancy caused by Mr. Mac- 
Donald's death, Rev. A. F. Campbell came 
as a probationer to give pulpit supply for 
a time, and he made so excellent an im- 
pression as to be afterwards called by a 
unanimous vote to the pastorate. A 
native of Glenorchy, in Argyleshire, and 



a student of Glasgow University and Free 
Church College, he was ordained a6 
minister of St. Columba Church in July, 
1898, and he worthily maintained the 
traditions of the congregation. Young 
and energetic, he prosecuted the work 
with vigour and success; while by his 
personal gifts he won the esteem and 
affection of a united and compact con- 
gregation. After his settlement the order 
of service in the church was modernised 
to some extent. The old habit of standing 
ar prayer and sitting during the praise 
was given up, and the members followed 
the custom of other congregations in the 
city. Another innovation was made in 
the introduction of the use of hymns in 
public worship, and a change was also 
made in the hour of the Gaelic service, to 
the close of the forenoon service instead 
of in the afternoon. 

It i6 interesting to note that among the 
office-bearers at this time were two sons 
of previous ministers of the congregation 
— Mr. Hugh Mackenzie, late of the North 
of Scotland Bank, and Mr. A. Neil Mac- 
Donald, solicitor. Mr. Mackenzie, a eon 
of the late Rev. Hugh Mackenzie, held 
office in the congregation for over 40 
years, latterly as joint session clerk. Mr. 
A Neil MacDonald, a 6on of the late Rev. 
George MacDonald. in addition to acting 
as joint session clerk, was also clerk to the 
Deacons' Court. 

The work cf the congregation was pro- 
ceeding along the U6ual lines, when every- 
thing was upset by the decision of the 
Churches Commission that provision had 
to be made for the Free Church in Aber- 
deen, and allocating St. Columba for this 
purpose. The congregation was practically 
stripped of everything — its buildings, its 
Communion plate, its tokens, and its Com- 
munion linen, but it retained its con- 
gregational records. It was " evicted " 
from the church and manse on 28th 
June, 1907, the last United Free Church 
service being held in the building on the 
preceding Sunday. The services were then 
transferred to the Union Hall, but 
another new feature intervened when Mr. 
Campbell, who had been loyally supported 
by the congregation through the period of 
transition, was called te Grant Street 
Church, Glasgow. By his acceptance of 
the call the congregation was then left 
without a minister as well as without a 
church. Rev. D. M. Munro, of the High 
Church, as a fellow-Highlander, was 
asked to become interim Moderator, and 
when the Presbytery's negotiations re- 






<o,»s 



,ST. COLUMBA UNITED FREE CHURCH 



If).", 



garding the future of the St. Columba 
congregation had failed, it was un- 
animously resolved to unite with the con- 
gregation of the High Church, one of the 
provisions of the union being the payment 
of an annual sum of £70 by the General 
Interests and Highland Committee for the 
maintenance of the Gaelic service. The 
office-bearers of St. Columba retained then- 
status in the united congregation, and 
the members went over in a body, not 
more than half a dozen being Inst as the 



result of the amalgamation. The union 
has proved most successful in every way, 
and under Mr. Minim's ministry the two 
congregations have mingled together with 
the utmost harmony, and entered on a 
period of marked prosperity. The union 
with the High was formally consummated 
on 10th October, 1907, on which date the 
St. Columba United Free Church con- 
gregation ended its separate existence, 
and its name passed out of the ecclesi- 
astical calendar. 



XLVHI.— ST. JOHN'S UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




'^4/SSEWk«^^^ 



St. John's U.F. Church. 

The origin of this congregation was due 
to a resolution on the part of the United 
Presbyterian Presbytery of Aberdeen to 
attempt the formation of a preaching 
station in the district with a view to the 
raising of a U.P. church. The initial steps 
in the matter were taken very quietly. The 
Presbytery obtained from the ministers of 
the city churches the names and addresses 
of U.P. members residing in the Woodside 
district, and these were approached either 
personally or by letter. The Presbytery's 
committee met in the Burgh Hall, Wood- 
side, on 21st August, 1877, when eight per- 
sons in the district belonging to the United 
Presbyterian Church came forward. The 
eight gentlemen who thus participated in 
the inception of the movement were Messrs. 
Robert Beveridge, George Damming, Wil- 
liam E. Grassick, James Hutcheson, James 
Kilgour, Charles Kilgour, William Laing, 
and James Morren. As a result of this 
conference, it was resolved to form a local 
committee to act along with the Presby- 
tery's Church Extension Committee, and, 
once the decision had been arrived at, 
no time was lost in carrying it into 
effect. On the following Sunday, 26th 
August, 1877, services were held in the 
Burgh Hall, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Brown, 
of Glasgow, preaching both forenoon and 
afternoon to good congregations. 

The services thus begun were carried on 
regularly every week under a succession of 
preachers — the first being Mr. Thomas 
Taylor, a divinity student, who gave two 
months' supply. Mr. Taylor afterwards 



became the first minister of Banchory U.P. 
Church, and in 1887 he was translated to 
the pastorate of Graham's Road Church, 
Falkirk. The Presbytery's committee 
assumed full control of the work, taking 
charge even of the collections for the first 
two months, but at the end of that time a 
Congregational Committee was elected. On 
22nd October, 1877, a meeting of the mem- 
bers and adherents was held for the pur- 
pose of making application to the Presby- 
tery to be formed into a congregation. The 
petition to that effect was signed by 43 
members in full communion with the U.P. 
Church and 34 adherents. It came before 
the Presbytery on 13th November, 1877, 
and four weeks afterwards Dr. John Rob- 
son, of St. Nicholas Lane Church, was 
appointed to preach at Woodside on 18th 
December, and declare the petitioners con- 
gregated. The Presbytery also appointed 
Rev. Andrew Dickie, of St. Paul Street 
Church, to act as Moderator of session, and 
Mr. James Kilgour and Mr. R. W. Wright 
were appointed elders to act along with 
him. The first Preses of the congregation 
was Mr. David Smith, manager of Gordon's 
Mills, and afterwards a baillie and provost 
of Woodside. Mr. Smith was a man of 
lofty personal character and superior gifts, 
and no member of the community was held 
in higher esteem. To him the congrega- 
tion owed much of its early progress. He 
acted as Preses continuously from the for- 
mation of the church until his death in 
1887, and also served it in other offices with 
the same devotion. 

The congregation being now formally 
constituted, there was before it the impor- 
tant task of choosing a minister. In this 
matter it was not immediately successful, 
as it had to suffer the disappointment and 
delay of having two calls declined. The 
first was addressed to Rev. John Dundas, 
then a probationer, who afterwards 
accepted a call from the church at Muir- 
kirk. The second was in favour of Rev. 
A. R. Kennedy. M.D., a probationer from 
Toronto, Canada, who had been admitted 
to the status of a licentiate by the United 
Presbyterian Synod of 1878. Dr. Kennedy 
soon after declining the call to Woodside 
*f accepted another to Chine Park. Port- 
Glasgow, where he laboured till 1884, when 
he left the ministry and removed to War- 



ST. JOHN'S UNITED FREE CHURCH 



195 



wick, there adopting the medical profes- 
sion, for which he had been fully qualified. 
The third call was more successful. If was 
addressed to Rev. William A. Dunbar, then 
a probationer, belonging to St. James's 
Place Church, Edinburgh. Mr, Dunbar 
accepted the invitation, and was ordained 
and inducted as first minister of Woodside 
UP. Church on Kith July, 1879. The first 
ordination of elders took place on 4th 
April, 1880, when Messrs. Alexander 
Ingram, William E. Grassick, John Shand, 
and David Smith were duly set apart to 
the office. 

The next step to be taken by the con- 
gregation was in connection with the erec- 
tion of a church. The first site selected 
was afterwards, on the advice of Mr. R. G. 
Wilson, architect, given up as being too 
costly to build upon. Attention was then 
directed to the excellent site occupying the 
whole space between the new part of the 
Old Road and the main street of the burgh. 
There the present church was erected — a 
small but comely building, which has been 
much improved in the succeeding years, 
and is now, for its size, a really handsome 
place of worship. The building, which was 
seated for 500, cost £1800, and the opening 
services took place on 6th February, 1881, 
the preachers on the occasion being the 
revered Principal Cairns, of Edinburgh, 
and Dr. Robson, of Aberdeen. Mr. Dun- 
bar's ministry was the means of gathering 
and consolidating a good congregation. 
Within six months of his settlement the 
membership had grown to 90, fully double 
the original number. The increase con- 
tinued at a steady, if not at an abnormal, 
rate until Mr. Dunbar's removal to Wishart 
Church, Dundee, in September, 1890, when 
the roll had again nearly doubled. Mr. 
Dunbar was not only a forceful and vigor- 
ous preacher, but a citizen of public spirit, 
and a shrewd and thoroughly capable man 
of affaire. He was actively interested in 
all that pertained to the welfare of Wood- 
side, and his removal was felt to be a dis- 
tinct loss to the community. In Dundee 
Mr. Dunbar has exercised a highly success- 
ful ministry, and he has also taken a pro- 
minent part in public life, particularly in 
connection with the School Board, of which 
he has served for a time as chairman. 

A comparatively short vacancy was ex- 
perienced at Woodside. After hearing 
several preachers, a call was addressed to 
Rev. John Ure, M.A., assistant to Dr. John 
Dobie, Shamrock Street Church, Glasgow. 
Mr. I T re accepted the invitation, aiid was 
ordained at Woodside on 22nd January, 
1891, his settlement being marked by the 



utmost harmony, and hits ministry opening 
under very favourable auspices. Mr. Ure 
is a native of Glasgow, and a graduate 
of its University, where he studied under 
teachers such as Lord Kelvin, Professor 
Edward Caird, afterwards Master of Balliol 
College, Oxford ; and other well-known 
men. At the close of his Arts course, Mr. 
Ure entered the Theological Hall of the 
United Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh, 
where also he had the privilege of sitting 
under eminent professors, notably Principal 
Cairns, and that prince of preachers, Dr. 
John Ker. On being licensed he was 
appointed assistant in Shamrock Street 




Rev. John Ure, M.A. 

Church, Glasgow, where he laboured for 
nine months before being called to Wood- 
side. 

The congregation has prospered in many 
ways since Mr. Ure assumed the pas- 
torate, and much of its success must be 
attributed to the enthusiasm and efficiency 
of his work. By his practical and thought- 
ful sermons he has maintained his reputa- 
tion as a preacher, while he has also shown 
considerable energy and resource, and not 
a little power of initiative, in developing 
the activities of the congregation. The 
membership has increased from 157 at the 
date of his ordination in 1891 to 290 in 
1908 : the Sundav School has made most 



196 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



gratifying progress, and a company of the 
Boys' Brigade has been instituted. Great 
improvements have been effected in the 
church itself. The interior has been re- 
painted, a fine pipe organ introduced, and 
three beautiful stained glass windows in- 
serted in the end of the building, these 
windows being the gift of Mr. Ure himself. 
Not the least notable of the developments 
of the period has been the P.S.A., which 
wais started in 1896, and has been carried 
on with unvarying success every year. 
These gatherings are held in the church on 
Sunday afternoons monthly during the 
winter season. A large choir leads the 
praise, and the most popular soloists in 
Aberdeen have given their aid. Mr. Ure 
presides and conducts the service, and pro- 
minent ministers and laymen have given 
the addresses. The attendances have 
always completely filled the church, and 
occasionally hundreds have been turned 
away for lack of room. Many young men 
and women, and large numbers of those 
who are not regular churchgoers, have 
been attracted to these meetings, and ample 
testimony has been borne to the excellent 
manner in which they are conducted and 
the good influence they are exerting. Mr. 
Ure was a member of Oldmachar School 
Board up to the date of the amalgamation 
of Woodside with Aberdeen. He has also 
served on the boards of most of the Wood- 
side charities, and has for several years been 
a director of the Royal Aberdeen Hospital 
for Sick Children, and is at present a 
director of the District Nursing Associa- 
tion. When the Union of the Free and 



U.P. Churches was effected in 1900 it be- 
came necessary for the congregation to take 
a new name, and that of St. John's was 
adopted — the choice, it is said, having been 
suggested by tne Christian name of the 
minister, and as a compliment to his per- 
sonal popularity. Since then, Woodside 
United Presbyterian Church has given place 
alike in ecclesiastical and local records to 
St. John's United Free Church. 

The congregation holds a good position 
of influence in the community, and several 
well-known men in the district are con- 
nected with it either as office-bearers or 
members. Amongst these there may be 
mentioned Mr. James N. Gray, manager, 
Mugiemoss Works (who holds the ofh 
session clerk and Preses of the congrega- 
tion) ; Mr. W. E. Grassick, secretary, 
Mugiemoss Works; ex-Baillie Wilkie. Mr. 
Adam Ingram, Midland Railway ; Mr. 
James A. Hadden, solicitor: Mr. George 
Ja.mieson, builder ; and Mr. John 
M'Gregor, headmaster, Old Aberdeen 
Public School. 

In a retrospect of its history, St. John's 
congregation can trace steady progress and 
considerable attainment. In the church 
itself — built, beautified, and freed of debt 
— there is a standing evidence of what has 
been already accomplished. But there are 
other and deeper results, and, perhaps, the 
secret of its past success and the hope of its 
future may be found in the fact of the con- 
gregation being a living force, ever ready 
to develop its Christian activities, and to 
adapt these activities to the needs of the 
age. 



\ 






v> 



N 5 



The Late Prof. J. A. Paterson. 

The United Free Church has lost, in the removal 
of Professor Paterson, one of whom she may be 
justly proud. A distinguished scholar, a staunch 
churchman, a kindly and warm hearted friend, he 
was well beloved where he was well known. He 
did not always get his due in this respect, a certain 
brusqueness of manner and a blunt outspokenness 
often preventing outsiders from seeing the real man. 
As a congregation we have an interest in the late 
professor. During his early school days and 
throughout his college course, which was so brilliant, 
he was connected with the old St. Nicholas Lane 
congregation, and doubtless learned there something 
of the uncompromising voluntaryism of which all 
along he has been a stout upholder. He never lost 
his interest in his old congregation, and at the rime, 
not knowing of the fact of his early connection, we 
wondered, when recently we met him, at his many 
enquiries about us, and about the people who used 
to be prominent in our circle. His cousin was the 
late Bailie Paterson, who was, until his death, so 
intimately connected with St. Nicholas. 



i 1 have just heard with deep regret of the 

1 death of the Rev. Alexander Urquhart, of Jeu- 

burgh. Mr Urquharl was a native of Aberdeen, 

and for some "years he was in the banking 

profession. Deciding to study for the ministry, 

i m took the Arts course «t Aberdeen University, 

: a,-id then proceeded to the United Presbyterian 

i Hail in Edinburgh for hi*, theological training. 

I H's first charge, was at Bufnmouth, near Ber- 

I wok, from which he was called to Boston 

Church, Jedbungh, of which he was minisiar 

at the time of hie death. Mr UKinhart apoat 

three months during the winter on Y.M.C.A. 

service among the troops in France, where no 

contracted the illnese to which he has now auo 

cumbed. His death under such circumstances 

in the mid-timo of his yoaiy may as truly be 

reckoned among the casualties of the war es 

if he had fallen in tho trenches. To Mr 

Urquhart's aged father, an honoured elder in 

iSt Ni cholas U.B\ Chu rch, with which the famny 

have 'been long <-ofrTT".. nd to his sisters, 

also resident in *»" a * to his wife 

and family, very 

exterj ^P>E? 



V^ 



\. 



The Or Robson Memorial. 

»/V/f/ 

A handpome carved oak and brass mural 
.memorial wae unveiled in the vestibule of 
3t Nji holas United Free Chureh this afternoon 
by Mrs Martin, a daughter of the !nte Dr 
Ro'nson. who was for 32 years the faithful and 
proirly V-eloved •i i mi-to>r <>f in* church, and to 
•whom thi6 memorial has been erected by 
the eongie ation. Mrs Martin, who is Dr 
Robson'e eldest daughter, is the wife of a 
mi'-'i'inary in Jamaia. and others of the late 
doctor's family were also present. 

The memorial is a handsome piece of art 
craftsmanship, made from a de=i n by Air 
Stephen Adam, ecclesiastical art designer," Bath 
Street. Gla^row. It will 1c ereatlv admired by 
all who enter the church, for it cannot fail to 
Jx> >"i°T-v.=d fastened a- it i* to th° wall 
opposite the entrance doorway. The oak fnarne 
Gothic in design is admirably fashioned and 
finished, and the ornament in which the vin«\ 
with l«avee and fruit, is the principal motif, has 
been very effectively treated Above the cen 
ti"al *-ri«s Hare is a rarr««4 •■p-ir^vitoti'^i of 
the burning bush, as constituting the emblem 
of the United Free Chur'h Th" ins nption n 
ecrlesias+i-al black Iftterinir with r*d initial?. 
is aa Villows: — "To the "lory of Hod a"d in 
jrr^tefu! memorv of the Rev. John Ro u iwn 
DD who for 3? y<*?jr<= wt< rh*» esteemed «»vl 
faitbfu] minister of this congregation,, a.d. 1876- 
1908 " 

In rai=ed carved l^+'vrs "n th" l.-iwer rart o' 
th» from* is th" BiHi al tort — "The ri~ht*r"e 
shall N> >n ewlaitfin*' reme m^rano " T\v 
Wemorinl w.is n\.Tf<i <n noftition vc?t^rdav a f *er 
Jinrtn. iinrl"^ th* 8 PU 1 ~p c>f f h rt R^r 

D Ritchie Kev and Mr TTcnry F Pavid, Gray's 
School o c 



ABERDEEN LADY'S BEQUESTS. 

Church Funds and Looal 
Institutions. 

The inventory of the personal estate of the 
late Miss iiarbara Paterson, lately residing at 
37 Victoria Street, Aberdeen, who died mere 
on 21st October last, has been lodged with the 
fcheiitf Clerk of Aberdeenshire, and amounts to 
£51b2 14s lid, on winch £204 10s 6d of -estate 
has been paid. . 

Mis* Paterson isavss to the Home Mission 
Fund, the Foreign Mission Fund, and the In- 
firm Ministers and Missionaries' Fund of the 
United Ftee Church of Scotland, £100 e*eh. 
She ai«o leaves to the managers of the ht 
V^holas Knifed F ree Churc h. Aberdeen, for 
cnstrrrjutTon at thiiir discretion among the 
poorer members of tlie congregation, a Bonn ui 
£5C; to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, *M ; 
and to the Royal Aberdeen Hospital for due 
Children, £50. /r ?*-* 



XLlX.— ST. NICHOLAS UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




St. Nicholas U.F. Church. 

The congregation now worshipping in St. 
Nicholas U.F. Church, Union Grove, can 
lay claim to some distinctive features in its 
history. It6 formation dates from the 
founding of the Secession in Aberdeen, and 
two of its ministers — Rev. Henry Angus 
and Rev. Dr. John Robson — were called to 
fill the Moderator's chair, the only two 
north country ministers who ever received 
that honour in the X'nited Presbyterian 
Church, while one of its sons — Rev. Dr. 
Laws, of Livingstonia — became in 1908 the 
first Missionary Moderator of the I T nited 
Free Church. 

On the death of Rev. John Bisset, of the 
East Parish, in 1756, his followers, acting, 
it is .said, on his advice, left the Establish- 
ment and cast in their lot with the Seces- 
sion. By this time, however, the Seces- 
sion Church had been split over the burgess 
oath, and the division between the two 
sections of Burghers and Anti-Burghers 
was at its keenest. Those who left the 
East Church were not all of one mind on 
the vexed question, and they broke off 
into two parties. One party adopted the 
Anti-Burgher position, and founded Bel- 
mont Street Church ; while the other allied 
itself to the Burghers, and founded the 
congregation of which the present St. 
Nicholas Church is one of the descendants. 

The first place of worship secured by the 
Burghers was at the corner of Weighhouse 
Square and Virginia Street. This build- 
ing, which was known as the Seceder 
Church, was opened in November, 1758, 
and Rev. Alexander Dick, to whom be- 
longed the distinction of being the firet 



Secession minister in Aberdeen, was or- 
dained to the pastorate in the same year. 
It is said that Mr. Bisset was compared to 
Moses, who led the people out of the house 
of bondage, and Mr. Dick to Joshua, who 
had given them rest. The feeling against 
Seoeders was very strong in Aberdeen at 
this time, and it was considered unsafe for 
Mr. Dick to appear in the streets unless 
accompanied by some of his members of 
good standing ; while a town's officer had 
to be stationed at the door of the meeting 
house to guard against any interruption 
of the service by outside disturbances. Yet 
the congregation gradually increased in 
numbers, until, in 1772, it was found neces- 
sary to erect a new and larger church. A 
site was found in Netherkirkgate, which 
then extended to Correction Wynd (St. 
Nicholas Street not being in existence), 
and the new building was opened in May, 
1772. Mr. Dick died in 1793, and the con- 
gregation became divided over the appoint- 
ment of a -successor. The majority favoured 
Rev. William Brunton, who was duly 
elected, and the congregation maintained 
its separate existence until 1839, when the 
members returned to the Established 
Church. At the Disruption of 1843, how- 
ever, they again left the Establishment, 
and founded Melville Free Church. 

The minority opposed to Mr. Brunton took 
their separate way, adhering all through 
to the Secession, and laying the founda- 
tion of St. Nicholas congregation. They 
erected a place of worship in Belmont 
Street, which was commonly known as the 
" Burn Kirk." It stood just about where 
the eastern pier of Union Bridge now is, 
and it was opened in 1795. For a few 
years the congregation were without a 
settled pastor, for it was not until 1800 
that Rev. Lawrance Gkoss was ordained to 
the charge. Mr. Glass was a man of con- 
siderable parts, and in a pamphlet by Mr. 
R. Murdoeh-Lawrance, Aberdeen, interest- 
ing particulars of his life and work are 
given. Soon after his settlement the 
church had to be demolished to make way 
for the erection of Union Bridge, and in 
1802 another new church was erected in 
Correction Wynd. On the death of Mr. 
Glass in 1813, the congregation were a 
considerable time in selecting a minister, 
hut ultimately their choice fell upon Rev. 



198 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEi\ 



Henry Angus, who was the first to give 
the church a real standing in the com- 
munity. 

Mr. Angus was a man of more than 
ordinary gifts, and he is still spoken 
of as one of the pulpit princes of Aberdeen. 
His ministry was a long one, extending 
from 1816 to 1860, and embracing the 
whole period of his active life. " The first 
look of Henry Angus," it has been said, 
" gave one the impression that he was no 
common man. His body was cast in one of 
nature's best and rarest moulds. The 
mingled intellectual majesty and benignity 
of his features, the towering forehead, and 
the mellowing grey locks of his later years, 
made you sometimes feel while you looked 
on him as if a portrait of one of the old 
Reformers, somewhat modernised, had 
stepped out alive from the canvas." Mr. 




Old St. Nicholas Lane U.P. Church. 

Angus may not have been what might be 
called a popular preacher in the way of at- 
tracting crowds, but he was generally ad- 
mitted to be a great preacher. Unequal, 
perhaps, in his pulpit work, he was yet a 
master of his art. His strong intellectual 
power, his dignified style and lofty elo- 
quence, made a profound impression in 
Aberdeen; and that his outstanding gifts 
were recognised throughout the country 
at large was shown in 1850, when ho wa.s 
called by acclamation to the Moderatorship 
of the denomination. When Mr. Angus 
died with startling suddenness in 1860, the 
whole city mourned for the loss of one 
who had exemplified the finest characteris- 
tics of a Christian minister, and who had 
maintained a noble testimony for all that 



was good and true. His name is still 
lovingly cherished, for there are those who 
to this day measure all they hear by the 
preaching of Henry Angus. 

Two important developments require to 
bo noted as having occurred during Mr. 
Angus's ministry. The first was the erec- 
tion of another new church on the same 
site, but with its frontage to >St. Nicholas 
Lane instead of Correction Wynd. This 
building was opened in 1845, and it served 
the congregation for 43 years. The other 
event was the ordination, in 1859, of Rev. 
James M. M'Kerrow as colleague to Mr. 
Angus. Mr. M'Kerrow worked with the 
utmost harmony along with Mr. Angus 
during the short time of itheir united 
ministry, and when the full burden of the 
pastorate devolved upon him he was quite 
equal to the task. A son of Rev. Dr. 
M'Kerrow, of Manchester, the young 
minister had all the natural English 
fluency, and his attractive eloquence soon 
filled the church to overflowing. With hit 
bright sermons, clothed in fine language 
and adorned with poetical quotations, he 
struck what was then a new note in the 
city pulpit, and crowded audiences were 
the result. After eight years of a success- 
ful ministry, Mr. M'Kerrow was called in 
1857 to Birmingham, and after some ten 
years' ministry there he went to New 
Zealand, where he rose to high distinc- 
tion in the Church. About this time an 
incident occurred which serves to show 
that the St. Nicholas Lane congregation 
although considered broader and more 
tolerant than some, were yet rather afraid 
ol innovations. A former member of the 
church, who had risen to eminence abroad, 
offered to present an organ to the church, 
but the session and managers, in view of 
the great opposition manifested to the pro- 
posal, were obliged to decline acceptance 
of the gift. Feeling ran very high over 
the subject, and there was extensively cir- 
culated a brochure entitled "Eppie Ronald's 
Lament," of which the first two verses may 
be given— 

" Ye staunch auld Seoeders, 

Wfca cowed the invaders 
O' the faith, were vour labouis in vain? 

What wad be their reflections 

To SLe the defections 
O' your sonii in St. Nicholas Lane. 

" Things aro come to a pass 
Hero since Angus and Crlass 

And Dick shone as living- epistles, 
When there's needed to eke 
The dull forms o' the week 

The aid o' a kii-tfu' o" whistles. " 



/3 *,/■*/*,. ?■<*. 9/^^^^ 
The Late Mr. William Robson, S.S.C. 
— The death occurred on Sunday at bis 
residence, Edinburgh, of Mr. William Rob- 
eon, S.S.C, (76). Ho had been in failing 
hcaltb fov over a year and had recently been 
quite laid a.^idc from duty. Mr. Robson was 
the second son of the late Rev. Dr. Robson, 
of Wellington Clinch, Glasgow. Ho began 
busine.-.s in Edinburgh in 1864, when he be- 
came a partner with the late Mr. White 
Millar, S.S.C He joined the S.S.C. Soc 
in 1870, and at the tine of his death was 
senior partner in the firm of Robson and 
M'Lean, W.S. For many years be was one 
of the legal advisers of the United Presby- 
terian Church, and since the Union of 1900 
be acted, along with Mr. John Cowan, W.S., 
as joint law agent of tlic United Free 
Church. Much of his time was given un- 
sparingly to the work of the Church, and on 
its committees, especially those connected 
witli administration and finance, he rendered 
valuable services. Personally he was held 
in the highest esteem. A man of unselfish 
character and of deep religious conviction, 
he bad wide sympathy with all forms of 
philanthropic and missionary activity, and 
gave them generous support. He was a 
member of the North Moiningsidc eongre- 
gation, in which lie had held the office of 
elder for twenty-six years. Mr. Robson was 
a brother of Rev. Dr. John Robson, of Aber- 
deen ; Rev. Dr. George Robson, of Perth; 
and Sir Henry Rob-on, London, all of whom 
predeceased him. 



ST. NICHOLAS UNITED FREE CHURCH 



199 



The congregation, like many another, 
changed its mind on the question of instru- 
mental music. It came to realise the ad- 
vantage of introducing an organ, but that 
was after many years, and when it no 
longer worshipped in the old church in St. 
Nicholas Lane. Unfortunately, when 
opinion on the subject had matured in the 
congregation there was no generous donor 
ready to present an organ, and the members 
had to provide it themselves. 

Mr. M'Kerrow was succeeded by Rev. 
John Rutherford, B.D., whose ordination 
took place in 1868. When Mr. Ruther- 
ford entered on the pastorate the church 
was in a flourishing state, and for a time 
all went well. Differences and difficulties, 
however, supervened, and in a season of 
stress and strain there was a considerable 
scattering of the congregation, not a few 
of the most influential members and most 
zealous workers leaving the church and 
becoming attached elsewhere in the city. 
Mr. Rutherford, who gave promise of no 
mean pulpit gifts, accepted a call to 
Leicester in 1875, and he subsequently en- 
tered the Established Church of Scotland, 
and is now minister of the first charge of 
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, a posi- 
tion he has held for a number of years. 

In 1876 the congregation addressed a call 
to Rev. John Robson, M.A., D.D., for- 
merly of Rajputana, India, whose induc- 
tion to the charge took place in September 
of the same year. Dr. Robson even then 
had attained a high standing in the 
Church. A son of the widely known and 
highly-es teemed Dr. John Robson, of Wel- 
lington Church, Glasgow, he followed up 
a distinguished academic career by choos- 
ing the life of a foreign missionary. In 
1860 he set sail for India, and was one of 
the founders of the Rajputana Mission, 
now one of the most important foreign 
fields of the Church. Returning to thus 
country in 1872 on account of ill-health, he 
found himself prohibited by medical advice 
from resuming his work in India. It was 
at this time that he produced his well- 
known volume " Hinduism and Chris- 
tianity," which is recognised as a stan- 
dard work on the subject, and which 
brought him the well-merited degree of 
D.D. from bis Alma Mater, Glasgow 
University. Dr. Robson, when he be- 
came minister of St. Nicholas Lane 
Church, was, therefore, a man of proved 
ability, and he was recognised as a de- 
cided acquisition to the local pulpit. The 
history of the congregation during the next 
22 years is largely the history of his work 



and the record of his influence. The mem- 
bers who had drifted away gradually re- 
turned to the church of their fathers, and 
the congregation soon regained its former 
position. It would be impossible, however, 
to detail the results of Dr. Robson's work. 
Suffice it to say that during all the years 
of his active pastorate he maintained a 
high standard of pulpit efficiency. A 
student and a theologian by instinct and 
training, his preaching was instructive, 
weighty, and of lasting value to his 
hearers. On doctrinal subjects he excelled, 
and many of his discourses have stood the 
test of publication, forming the subject 




Rev. Dr. John Robson. 

matter of his works, "The Bible: Its Re- 
velation and Inspiration," " The Holy 
Spirit, the Paraclete," and others. It 
was but natural that Dr. Robson's mis- 
sionary zeal should manifest itself, and he 
soon imparted to the congregation the mis- 
sionary S2>irit which has been regarded as 
one of its distinctive features. In material 
affairs also, his influence was felt, for it 
was largely on his initiative that the con- 
gregation resolved to quit St. Nicholas 
Lane and build the present edifice iai 
Union Grove, which was designed by Mr. 
R. G. Wilson, architect. Himself a 
generous giver. Dr. Robson was able to 
elicit liberality in others, and the erection 
of the new church buildings and their 



200 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



entire relief from the burden of debt 
will ever remain a monument of his 
work in Aberdeen. He left a deep im- 
pression on the congregation, which it is 
not likely to lose for many a clay, and 
when his active ministry closed, he re- 
tained the high respect and esteem of 
those who learned to know him as a faithful 
minister, an able and scholarly preacher, 
and a fine type of a Christian gentleman. 
His election to the Moderatorship of the 
Supreme Court in 1900 was a fitting re- 
cognition of personal worth and eminent 
service. Dr. Robson retired from the 




Rev. J. G. Walton, B D. 

active duties of the charge in 1898, subse- 
quently removing from Aberdeen — first to 
Edinburgh, and afterwards to London. 
He died while on a holiday in Arran in 
August, 1908. 

On Dr. Robson retiring, the congrega- 
tion had to apjxunt a successor who 
would be acting minister and take full 
responsibility. After some delay, occa- 
sioned by the declinature of a call pro- 
secuted in the Church Courts in favour 
of Rev. J. G. Goold, of Dumbarton (now 
of Egremont), a very hearty call was 
addressed to Rev. J. G. Walton, B.D., of 
Bell Street Church, Dundee, and was 
accepted by him. Then followed a mourn- 
ful experience, and one, happily, almost 
without precedent in the annals of any 



congregation. Mr. Walton was inducted 
to the pastorate on 14th September, 1899, 
and his brilliant pulpit gifts at once at- 
tracted attention. Along with scholarship 
of the highest distinction he had oratorical 
gifts above the average and a noble and 
winning personality. He entered on the 
pastorate in the early prime of manhood 
and apparently in full strength and vigour, 
yet in less than three months from the 
date of his induction he was laid aside by 
an illness, from which he never recovered. 
His death occurred on 29th January, 1900, 
and its startling unexpectedness and the al- 
most tragical ending of his career pro- 
duced a deep impression in the city and 
throughout the Church at large. Mr. 
Walton's ministry of three and a half 
months will not soon be forgotten. Al- 
though short in point of time, who knows 
what may have been its results ? 

The circumstances through which th* 
congregation passed at this time were try- 
ing in many ways, but the vacancy was 
not a prolonged one. It was unanimously 
resolved to call Rev. D. Ritchie Key, M.A., 
of London Road Church, Edinburgh, and 
Mr. Key having accepted the call, his in- 
duction took place in June, 1900. Mr. 
Key came from Edinburgh with a high 
reputation as a successful minister, having 
found at London Road a handful of mem- 
bers with a burden of debt, and having 
cleared away the debt and gathered a great 
congregation. In Aberdeen he has like- 
wise done excellent work. Hi6 popular 
gifts as a preacher and his ability and skill 
in organisation and work have not been 
slow iii making an impression. The mem- 
bership of St. Nicholas has increased from 
about 500 until it is now close on 700. the 
church and halls have been repainted, 
electric lighting has been introduced, and 
a fine pipe organ has been erected. Mr. 
Key continues the work with unabated 
vigour. 

St. Nicholas congregation has a splendid 
roll of fame in the men it has sent forth 
to the ministry. Rev. James Smith, of 
Bolton ; Rev. Dr. George Brown, of Rams- 
bottom, and afterwards of Bromptoii : Rev. 
David Macrae, of Glasgow (father of Rev. 
David Macrae, Dundee) ; Rev. Mr. Ingram. 
Eday ; Rev. Robert Angus, Peebles : Rev. 
James Pittendreigh, Pittenweem ; Rev. 
Henry A. Paterson, Stonehouse : Rev. Dr. 
Henry Angus, Arbroath ; Rev. Hugh G. 
Wallace, Kendal, and Rev. William Wat- 
son, of Forres, may be mentioned a.-> men 
who served the church well in their day. 
and reflected honour on the congregation 
of their youth. Then in the present day 



ST. NICHOLAS UN IT Eh FREE CHURCH 



201 




Rjv. D. Ritchie Key, M.A. 

there are a number still in the ministry, 
including Eev. James L. Murray, of White- 
hill, Glasgow; Rev. Dr. Gordon Gray, of 
Rome : Rev. John Mansie, of Dundee ; 
Rev. James Leask, of Australia ; and 
Rev. Alexander Urquhart, of Jedburgh. 
In its contributions of workers to the mis- 
sion field St. Nicholas stands pre-eminent, 
for the list includes such men as the late 
Rev. Dr. Alexander Robb, of Jamaica and 
Old Calabar ; Rev. Dr. Robert Laws, the 
great piorieer in Livingstonia, Moderator 
of the General Assembly, 1908 ; Rev. Dr. 
Shepherd, of Rajputana (whose family was 
at one time connected with the church) ; 
Rev. Professor Cooper, late of Madias ; 
Rev. William Robb, Rajputana: and Rev. 
Alex. Cruickshank, Old Calabar. If the 
sons of the congregation have been well 
represented in the mission fields, so also 



have the daughters, with Mrs. Dr. Laws in 
Central Africa, Mrs. W. F. Martin in 
Jamaica, and Mrs. F. Ashcroft in Rajpu- 
tana. 

To public life St. Nicholas has contri- 
buted men like the Hon. John Paterson, 
who took a leading part in the administra- 
tion of the affairs of Cape Colony, and the 
Hon. James Stewart of Fiji. Of well- 
known citizens of Aberdeen there have also 
been not a few who have been intimately 
connected with the work of the church. 
Amongst these may be mentioned Baillie 
William Paterson (and also, in more re- 
cent days, his son, Baillie James Paterson), 
Baillie Robert Urquhart, the leading man 
in the church of his day ; Baillie James 
Ross, who in his later years was a mem- 
ber and elder; Mr. George Milne, secretary 
of the Association for the Poor, whose 
grasp of Church affairs was very marked ; 
Mr. Robert Laws (father of Dr. Laws), 
whose very presence seemed to carry 
with it a benediction ; and Mr. 
George Tough, who filled the office of 
session clerk for over 20 years with rare 
fidelity. Nor has the succession failed in 
the present day. Men of light and leading 
still direct the affairs of the congregation. 
Mr. James Strachan, who now acts as ses- 
sion clerk, is an active member both of the 
Presbytery and Assembly, and takes a 
large share of denominational work. Mr. 
James Spence of Pow is congregational 
treasurer ; and the session and manage- 
ment include the names of men well known 
to the community in various walks of life. 

St. Nicholas has always borne the re- 
putation of being an enlightened congre- 
gation ; while it is, perhaps, not quickly 
susceptible to new movements and 
methods. Its critical faculty has been 
strongly developed, and it has been almost 
as rich in "sermon-tasters" as Ian Mac- 
laren's Drumtochty. Yet its energies have 
not been wholly spent in discussing points 
in preaching. It has been a living and 
active force in the community for over a 
hundred years, and its influence has been 
felt even in the ends of the earth. 



L.— ST. PAUL'S UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




St. Paul's U.F. Church. 

This congregation is the only one in 
Aberdeen which has descended from the 
Relief Church — a denomination which filled 
so large a place in the ecclesiastical history 
of Scotland between the years 1761 and 
1817. When the Relief Church joined with 
the Secession Church in 1847 and formed 
the United Presbyterian Church, the Aber- 
deen congregation passed into the larger 
body, and it shared again in the union 
of 1900, when the United Presbyterian 
and Free Churches combined to form the 
United Free Church of to-day. Through 
the successive stages of its ecclesiastical 
development — Relief, United Presbyterian, 
United Free — the congregation has main- 
tained a distinctive position in the religious 
life of the community. 

The earlier history of the congregation 
is, of course, bound up with the history 
of the Relief movement in Aberdeen. 
There was a serious division of opinion 
over the appointment of a minister 
to Gilcomston Chapel of Ease, and 
the aggrieved minority seceded. For 
a time they found it impossible to 
build a church or call a minister, but 
application for a supply of ordinances 
was made to the Presbytery of Relief, 
which had been founded at Colinsburgh 
in 17G1 by Rev. Thomas Gillespie. Relief 
preachers continued to officiate until 1778, 



when a church was built in Belmont 
Street (on the site now occupied by the 
South Parish Church), and a petition was 
presented to the Relief Presbytery for per- 
mission to issue a call. Over the selection 
of a minister there was a keen division. 
Rev. John Bryce was ultimately the 
choice of the members who were qualified 
to vote, but a large number of adherents — 
who as non-subscribers to the building of 
the church had no voice in the election — 
favoured Rev. John Brodie, and when 
their candidate was defeated they imme- 
diately separated themselves from tbe 
congregation and founded a new cause. A 
place of worship capable of accommodating 
about 1000 worshippers was built in the 
Shiprow — up one of the courts, and on a 
spot now occupied by part of the Douglas 
Hotel. Mr. Brodie was ordained to the 
pastorate of the congregation in 1780, and 
under his efforts it prospered exceedingly, 
but he was excluded from the Relief con- 
nection on account of having preached to 
his supporters in Aberdeen without 
Presbyterial sanction. In 17 ( J0 he applied 
to the Synod for admission, and a long 
and painful controversy followed with Mr. 
Bryce and his session. Personal charges 
were made against Mr. Brodie, but these 
were repelled, and ultimately he was re- 
reived along with his congregation into 
the Relief body — Mr. Bryce and his 
followers, about the same time, and, per- 
haps, largely on account of the decision, 
entering the Established Church. In 1798 
Mr. Brodie accepted a call to Dovehill (now 
Kelvingrove), Glasgow, and with his de- 
parture the Relief cause in Aberdeen 
entered on troublous times. A vacancy of 
over a year was followed by the ordination 
on 6th November, 1779, of Rev. Alexander 
Bower, whose ministry altogether proved 
most unfortunate. Soon after his settle- 
ment unhappy divisions began to appear, 
and years of contention followed. In order 
to get quit of him the managers of Shiprow 
Church on 30th July. 1805. laid on the 
Presbytery table a list of 11 charges 
against Mr. Bower, some of them frivolous 
enough, such as shaving on Sunday and 
.saving there was no sin in doing so. while 
various indiscretions were also alleged 
against him. After another trying year 
Mr. Bower resigned and left Aberdeen. 
During his stay in the city he published a 
biography of Dr. James Beattio. and in 
1813 a Life of Martin Luther came from Lis 



ST. PAUL'S UNITED FREE CHURCH 



203 



pen. Mr. Bower, although unfortunate in 
his ministerial relations, was evidently a 
man of considerable parts, and his literary 
work has given him a place in the Dic- 
tionary of National Biography. 

Previous to Mr. Bower's resignation and 
consequent upon the troubles in the 
church, a considerable number of members 
had left and formed a new congregation 
in St. Andrew Street, from which the pre- 
sent St. Paul's congregation is directly 
descended. The Ship row congregation con- 
tinued for a time under varying conditions 
to fill a place in the city. Its ministers 




Old St. Paul Street U.P. Church. 

have been spoken of as "the bold Brodie, 
the balmy Bower, the pious Baton, the 
godly Gellatly, and the robust Rose." Dr. 
John Pa ton, who succeeded Mr. Bower, 
came, strangely enough, from the dis- 
sentient body in St. Andrew Street. 
He died in 1811, and was succeeded by Rev. 
David Gellatly, whose ministry extended 
over ten years, and who in turn was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. Patrick Ross. On 7th 
September, 1823, Rev. Hugh Hart, of 
Paisley, was inducted to the charge, and 
he soon came to occupy a more prominent 
place in public life than any of his pre- 
decessors. Hugh Hart was something of 
a character in his day — yet a Christian 
character, notwithstanding that odd ways 
and views were attributed to him. Mr. 
Carnie has given us a descriptive sketch 
worth preservation. "It was," he says, 
" an engaging sight to meet Hugh Hart 
going — constantly going — amongst his 
people. Of middle height, inclined to be 
portly, always most carefully dressed in 
spotless black, white neckcloth, high collar, 
carrying a silver-mounted walking stick. 
and wearing massive gold spectacles and 
watch seals, he might well be called the 
picture of clerical elegance and order." 
Mr. Hart was a powerful preacher, with a 
rhetorical style, and, perhaps, somewhat 
eccentric. He filled the church to over- 



flowing, although some might maintain 
that the splendid singing was as helpful as 
the popular preaching in drawing the 
crowds. Mr. Hart came to Aberdeen to 
be minister of the Shiprow Relief Chapel, 
but the denominational connection was 
severed, and he was best known as the 
minister of the United Christian Church. 
The Aberdeen Market Company ultimately 
bought the building, and the " Hilloa 
Kirk," as it had been termed, passed out 
of existence, and Mr. Hart and his 
followers removed to Zion Chapel, John 
Stieet. 

The party which had broken off from the 
Shiprow congregation during the diffi- 
culties and divisions in Mr. Bower's time 
built a new church in St. Andrew Street 
with accommodation for 900, and at a cost 
of £1000. Dr. John Pa ton was in- 
ducted as minister on 12th October, 1803, 
but he remained only for a short time. He 
carried several adherents with him, and 
preached in a temporary meeting-place 
until, as already stated, he was settled in 
Shiprow Chapel after the departure of Mr. 
Bower. The new St. Andrew's Chapel was 
opened in September, 1805, and in June, 
1800, a call was addressed to Rev. William 
Strang, formerly of Newton Stewart. Mr. 
Strang had encouraged the call, but in the 
end he declined, adducing among his 
reasons that the members Mere a mere 
handful and not what he had been led to 
expect, and even asserting that some were 
so illiterate as not to be able to sign their 
own names. A happy settlement, how- 
ever, was effected on 11th February, 1807, 
when Rev. Samuel M'Millan was ordained 
as minister of the church. Mr. M'Millan 
laboured in the charge for 30 years with 
great acceptance, and gained the general 
respect of the community in such a way as 
to free the Relief body from the reproach 
it had suffered on account of Mr. Bower's 
ministry. Mr. M'Millan was a man of 
literary tastes, and published many works, 
including "The Beauties of Ralph Erskine" 
in two volumes and "Evangelical Lec- 
tures ami Essays"; he also brought out 
an edition of the works of Thomas Boston. 
While a man of real ability, Mr. M'Millan 
lacked the popular element, however, and 
this detracted somewhat from the success 
and growth of the congregation. In 1837 
he was compelled on account of declining 
health to ask for a colleague, and on 29th 
November of the same year Rev. William 
Beckett was ordained to the joint charge. 
Under the young minister a new era of 
prosperity set in, but in less than three 
years Mr. Beckett accepted a call to 



204 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Kutherglen. The St. Andrew's congrega- 
tion now fixed by a small majority on Rev. 
John Thorburn, and as they were desirous 
that he should be recognised as sole 
pastor, Mr. M'Millan expressed his readi- 
ness to give up all official duties, and bis 
connection with the church came virtually 
to an end. Mr. Thorburn was ordained on 
27th May, 1841, and was formally intro- 
duced by Rev. William Anderson, of Glas- 
gow, who preached on the occasion what 
was described as "a terrific sermon.' 
Shortly after Mr. Thorburn's settlement 
the members began to think of erecting a 
new church rather than renovating the old 
one, and in the end of April, 1842, the 
foundation stone was laid of the building in 
St. Paul Street which housed the congrega- 
tion for so many years. The St. Paid 
Street Church, with 900 sittings, was 
opened on 13th November, 1842, by Rev. 
Daniel Gorrie, of Kettle. Shortly there- 
after it was seen that Mr. Thorburn and 
his congregation were not happily mated. 
Difficulties arose and dissensions occurred 
which Mr. M'Millan tried in vain to allay. 
After a year or two of strife and discord, 
Mr. Thorburn tendered his resignation, 
which was accepted on 16th December, 
1845. A vacancy of some length followed, 
but ultimately a call was accepted by Rev. 
Andrew Dickie, of Golinsburgh. The choice 
was a fortunate one, as subsequent events 
proved, for Mr. Dickie practically re-made 
St. Paul Street congregation, raising it to 
a higher position than it ever formerly 
occupied, and giving it a position in the 
city it has never since entirely lost. Dur- 
ing the vacancy the Relief denomination 
had ended its separate existence, and the 
call to Mr. Dickie was one of the items of 
business at the first meeting of the United 
Presbyterian Presbytery of Aberdeen. 

Mr. Dickie was inducted on 18th August, 
1847, after a short pastorate of two years 
at Colinsburgh. At the date of his settle- 
ment, St. Paul Street congregation was at 
a very low ebb. The membership was only 
about 80 — mostly drawn from the working 
classes— and the church was burdened with 
a debt of about £1200. From the outset 
of his ministry, Mr. Dickie devoted his 
entire energies to the work of the con- 
gregation, and did not take a prominent 
part in public life. As the result of his 
unceasing labours, the membership rapidly 
increased until it considerably exceeded 
500. The debt was entirely extinguished, 
and to meet the growing requirements of 
the congregation, especially in connection 
with Sabbath School and mission work, the 
adjoining building in St. Paul Street, long 



known as the Medical School in connection 
with Marischal College, was acquired and 
adapted as halls and class-rooms at a total 
cost of £1000. A special feature of his 
ministry was the series of Sabbath evening 
lectures during the winter. Mr. Dickie 
inaugurated these at an early period of his 
ministry, and he continued them for 16 
years, lecturing once a fortnight in 
addition to conducting the morning and 
afternoon services. These lectures (mostly 
on Scriptural subjects) were among the first 
of their kind in the city, and proved ex- 




Rev. Andrew Dickie. 

tremely popular. The church was almost 
invariably crowded to the utmost of its 
seating capacity, and not infrequently the 
passages and even the pulpit stairs were 
fully occupied. Mr. Dickie's preaching 
was fervidly evangelical, and combined 
massiveness of thought with clearness and 
simplicity. To the young of the congrega- 
tion Mr. Dickie devoted special attention, 
and he was not less successful as a pastor 
than as a preacher. 

St. Paul Street Church proved a centre 
of attraction in these days to the students 
who came from the surrounding district 
to prepare for the ministry. Among those 
bred in the congregation, or who attended 
Mr, Dickie's ministry for a longer or 
shorter term, and who afterwards attained 
to positions of usefulness and distinction, 
may be mentioned the brothers Davidson, 
missionaries to Kaffraria : Rev. R. M. 



ST. PAUL'S UNITED FREE CHURCH 



20£ 



Beedie, Old Calabar; Rev. William Rose, 
Dundee ; Rev. J. B. Duncan, Lynturk ; 
Rev. John King, Gov an ; Rev. Dr. James 
Gibb, New Zealand ; Rev. John Gibson 
Smith, New Zealand ; and Rev. William 
Simmers, Portsoy. To this list there falls 
to be added the names of two of Mr. 
Dickie's sons — the late Rev. Matthew 
Dickie, of Alva, whose premature death 
cut short a brilliant career, and Rev. W. 
S. Dickie, of Irvine, a gifted preacher, who 
has proved a not unworthy successor to a 
man of rare genius, the late Dr. W. B. 
Robertson. Mr. William Duthie of 
Collynie and Dr. (now Sir) George Watt 
were connected with St. Paul Street 
Church in these days, and at a later stage 
the congregation gave a minister of high 
promise to another denomination in the 
person of Rev. David Barron, of Portsea. 

Among the prominent citizens associated 
with St. Paul Street Church in Mr. Dickie's 
time were Mr. John Miller of Sandilands, 
who for many years acted as congregational 
treasurer, Mr. George Miller, Mr. Arthur 
Knox, Dr. Meikle, of Lochhead Hydro- 
pathic ; Mr. James Kilgour, Mr. James 
Paterson, Baillie Smith, Mr. James Crich- 
ton, and Mr. Oswald Prosser, solicitor, who 
also acted for a considerable term a.s 
treasurer. On the occasion of Mr. Dickie's 
semi-jubilee in 1872, he was presented by 
the congregation at a large and repre- 
sentative meeting in the Music Hall with 
an illuminated address and other gifts, 
including a purse of 120 sovereigns. After 
thirty-six years of strenuous service, the 
weight of advancing age began to tell on 
Mr. Dickie, and he applied in 1882 for the 
appointment of a colleague and successor. 
The arrangements were duly completed 
and sanctioned by the Presbytery, but it 
was some time before the congregation 
were able to secure a settlement. They 
called the Rev. John Cullen, afterwards of 
Leslie, and the Rev. D. K. Auchterlonie, 
of Craigdam, but declinatures were re- 
ceived in both cases. More successful, 
however, was an invitation to the Rev. 
David Burns, of Linlithgow. Mr. Burns 
was inducted to St. Paul Street Church on 
28th August, 1883, and the collegiate 
ministry then began. Unfortunately, like 
many other collegiate ministries, it was 
not entirely successful or happy. Mr. 
Burns was a preacher with a cultured, 
thoughtful style, which ought to have 
made a distinct impression alike in the 
congregation and the community, but dif- 
ferences and difficulties of various kinds in- 
tervened. In less than four years Mr. 
Burns left Aberdeen on receiving an in- 



vitation to undertake the building up of 
a ncu congregation in Glasgow, known as 
that of Nithsdale Church. He also found 
.scope for the exercise of his excellent 
literary gifts in various publications. 

During the vacancy which followed, Mr. 
Dickie retired altogether from the 
pastorate of the congregation, and his 
official connection with St. Paul Street 
Church came to an end. He retained, 
however, his seat in the Presbytery and 
Synod, and this led to the emeritus position 
having a place in the ecclesiastical arrange- 
ments of the denomination, Mr. Dickie, it 
is believed, being the first emeritus minister 
recognised in the U.P. Church. He sur- 
vived to witness other two pastorates in 
the church, his death taking place on the 
eve of his own ministerial jubilee in April, 
1895. Thus there passed away in the 
eighty-second year of his age, and the 
fiftieth of his ministry, one who had served 
the Church faithfully and well, and who 
has left behind him in Aberdeen an 
honoured memory. 

On 28th February, 1888, the Rev. James 
Aitken was ordained to the pastorate of St. 
Paid Street Church. Mr. Aitken was a 
native of Leithholm, and he had recently 
completed his course at the Theological 
Hall of the U.P. Church. With all the 
energy of a young man he applied himself 
to the situation. During his pastorate a 
great bazaar was promoted in aid of the 
funds of the church, and the venture was 
successful in raising a considerable sum. 
Mr. Aitken gained the esteem of the 
members, and among the young of the 
congregation his influence was specially 
felt. After four and a half years' service 
in Aberdeen, he accepted a call to Falkirk, 
where he still remains. He found St. Paul 
Street Church with a membership of 360, 
and left it with 400. 

Mr. Aitken left in December, 1892, and 
on 19th April, 1893, Rev. D. G. Fairley 
was ordained to the pastorate. Like Mr. 
Aitken, he came as a young man practically 
without experience. Mr. Fairley proved to 
be a stirring preacher, with evangelical 
fervour and a vigorous delivery, and he 
commanded good audiences. The feature 
of his pastorate may be said to have been 
t he removal of the congregation to its pre- 
sent place of worship. It was found that 
the School Board were desirous of purchas- 
ing the old church in St. Paul Street in 
connection with the extension of St. Paul 
Street School, and after negotiation the 
buildings and site were sold for £3000. 
WJth this sum on hand the congregation 
proceeded to the erection of a new church 



206 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



on Rosemount Viaduct at its junction with 
Gilcomston Park. The cost was about 
£4750, and the new building, designed by 
Mr. R. G. Wilson, architect — which it was 
decided should be known as St. Paul's 
Church — was opened on 27th March, 1897, 
by the Rev. James Rennie, of Glasgow, the 
Moderator of the Church for the year. In 
1901, after giving eight years to the work 
of the congregation, Mr. Fairley accepted 
a call to Fairfield Church, Govan, a 
charge with a membership of nearly 1000, 
where there is abundant scope for his zeal 
and his forceful pulpit gifts. 




Rev. Thomas^Simpson. 

Finding themselves once more in a 
vacancy, the St. Paul's congregation re- 
solved on this occasion to restrict their 
choice to ordained ministers already in 
charges of their own. A number of excel- 
lent men were under consideration, but the 
choice fell on Rev. Thomas Simpson, of 
Stromnefis, who was inducted in September, 
1901. Mr. Simpson had been called to 
Stromness in 1894, almost immediately 
after entering the ranks of the pro- 
bationers. His seven years' ministry in the 
Far North wa6 abundantly successful. He 
won a sure place in the affections of the 



people, and among the young men and 
women lie achieved great success. In the 
Presbytery he was recognised as an able 
and fearless debater, and he speedily came 
to be looked on as being, in many ways, 
the premier preacher in the Orkneys, with 
the result that his services were in fre- 
quent demand. In Aberdeen he has been 
surely winning his ,.ay by his eloquence, 
his freshness of matter, and the general 
effectiveness of his pulpit style. In the 
general work of the congregation, a6 well 
as in public movements affecting the 
social welfare of the community, he 
has also proved himself to be active, 
zealous, and efficient. The office-hearers 
of the church to-day include Mr. George 
Pirie, contractor, who has acted as Preses 
of the congregation for a number of years ; 
and Mr. Douglas F. Mackenzie, session 
clerk ; while in the eldership there are men 
well known to the public, such as Mr- 
James Strachan, Gilcomston Mills: and 
Mr. Thomas Scott, LL.D., F.L.S.. of the 
Bay of Nigg Marine Laboratory. 

Many and great have been the changes 
since the Relief cause originated in Aber- 
deen. The whole aspect of religious life 
in the city has been altered, and the 
ecclesiastical situation in Scotland has 
undergone a complete transformation. 
Through them all, however, this congrega- 
tion has preserved a continuous history. 
Every change — from the Shiprow to St. 
Andrew Street, from St. Andrew Street to 
St. Paul Street, and from St. Paul Street 
to Rosemount Viaduct — has marked suc- 
cessive stages in its development, and there 
may he little in the congregation to-day to 
indicate its descent from the old Relief 
body. It would be possible even to note 
many apparent differences between the con- 
gregation of to-day and the congregation 
of, say. St. Paul Street in the days when 
Mr. Dickie was in his prime. The personnel 
of the membership is not what it once was. 
and the outstanding characteristics of the 
congregation are greatly altered. This 
has been attributable to outward perhaps 
as much as to inward causes, To develop- 
ments in the city generally as much as to 
particular movements in the congregation. 
Vet, when all allowance has been made for 
the ravages of time, the congregation has 
never proved unworthy of the great tradi- 
tions it inherited. The banner of the 
Relief has been nobly held aloft amid the 
changes of the centuries, and the spirit of 
the men of the Relief has never been 
whollv extinguished, 



PRINCIPAL CLOW, 



S/E 



Impressions of the New 
Glasgow U.F. Head. 

(By "Ecclesiasticus.") '/ft./ 

Aberdeen has re aeon to be interested — mid 
gratified — at the appointment made by the 
United Free Church General Assembly yester- 
day to th'3 Priicip&lship o r the Glasgow College. 
Dr Clow is a former Aberdeen minister, and 
neither he nor Aberdeen are ever likely to 
forget the fact When lie came from Udding- 
ston in 1889 to the pulpit o-. the F n ree South he 
took the first upward step on the ladder he has 
been steadily climbing ever since. He made 
an impression in our city which is felt to this 
day, and he is ready to acknowledge that 
Aberdeen left its mark on him. 

It was during Dr Clow's ministry that the 
South congregation removed from the old 
building under the brick spire at the corner 
of Belmont Street and Schoolhill to the present 
handsome building on the Viaduct. During 
the busy years of his pastorate in the city the 
force of Dr Clow's striking and attractive 
personality was widely felt. He was intensely 




Principal Clow. 



human, vivacious, warm-hearted, with a keen 
sense of humour, and an overflowing interest 
in life in all its varying forms and activities. 
Young men and women found it impossible to 
resist his buoyancy and enthusiasm, while the 
children were irresistibly drawn to him. He 
was often to be seen in the heart of a small 
'crowd of boys in the street, for he seldom 
passed them at their games without a kindly 
greeting, and som> of them prill remember how ■ 
he caught and tossed their balls. 



One incident of his Aberdeen days may be 
recalled Dr Clow has a fine power of 
imagination, and a, command of vivid 
language, and he can depict Bible scenes and 
characters of far-off ages until they glow with 
reality and throb with life before bis hearers. 
On a certain occasion he had been speaking of 
the glories of the new Jerusalem and thjs 
felicity of the redeemed, painting one dazzling 
picture after another, until his hearers eal as 
transfixed, and one worthy old man was heard 
to remark at the close— "Man, it was gran' ; 
I thocht we were up in heaven !" 

It is satisfactory to think that Principal 
Utow, notwithstanding the new position to whirl 
he has been called, will not be lost to the 
pulpit. He preaches because he must— the 
pulpit is his throne, and he has a message for 
the age. 



LI-SOUTH UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




South U.F. Church. 

Occupying a commanding site on the 
Schoolhill Viaduct, and facing Union Ter- 
race and Union Bridge, the South United 
Free Church is one of the buildings sure to 
catch the eye of every visitor to the Granite 
City. With its fine portico, supported by 
Ionic columns, and its handsome dome, it 
forms a rather striking miniature of St. 
Paul's Cathedral. Among the many stately 
edifices in the immediate vicinity, it stands 
out with a prominence of its own, and this 
prominence is only typical of the pro- 
minence of the congregation in the com- 
munity during all the years of its history. 
The "Free South," as it is still commonly 
termed, notwithstanding the prefix now 
officially necessary, has always been re- 
garded as one of the premier congregations 
in the city. 

The South Church was founded in the 
beginning of last century. It was originally 
an old Secession Church, but ultimately it 
had cast in its lot with the Establishment. 
Among the ministers in the pre-disruption 
years were Dr. Alexander Dyce Davidson, 
afterwards well known as minister of the 
West. When the great event of '43 took 
place, the minister of the South was Rev. 
James Stewart, and when he "went out" 
he carried with him his large congregation 
almost to a man. Fven then, the South 



congregation stood high in influence as well 
as in numbers. Many of the leading citizens 
of the day were counted among its office- 
bearers and members. The ciders at the 
Disruption, who signed the Deed of Pro- 
test on 13th June, 1843, were Robert 
Brown, James Abernethy, Robert Simmey, 
George Fullerton, William Keith, John 
Hay, and George Yeats. Conspicuous 
among them was the well-known Dr. Keith, 
one of the foremost medical men of the 
city — the doctor who is said to have had 
the distinction of performing the first 
operation with the aid of chloroform, then 
recently discovered by Sir James Y. Simp- 
son. In October, 1843, the following were 
added to the Session, namely — Baillic 
I'rquhart, James Abernethy, jun., 
Nathaniel Farquhar, William Ironside, 
William Gordon, James B. M'Combie, 
David M'Hardy, John Martin, David 
Stewart, David Wyllie, and John Webster, 
and some time later there was a further 
accession, which included Sir William C. 
Set on, Bart., of Pitmedden, and Messrs. 
George Rennie, Andrew Murray, 
Smart, and James Bryce. 

Mr. Stewart died at an early 
June, 1816. Ho was a man of 
evangelical spirit, but his pastorate was so 
brief that lie had no opportunity of making 
any special impression. His connection 
with the congregation lasted for only about 
eight months before the Disruption, and 
about three years after it. 

On 10th December, 184C, Rev. John 
Bonar, of Larbert, was inducted to the 
charge, but his ministry was destined to 
come to a speedy close. Within a year 
after his settlement two calls were pre- 
sented to him, both from centres of in- 
fiuence in the Church — one from St. 
Paul's, Edinburgh, and the other from 
Renfield, Glasgow. Pressure had evidently 
been brought to bear upon him, and in 
spite of the fact that he had barely settled 
in Aberdeen, he accepted the invita* 
tiori to Renfield Church, Glasgow. The 
South Church had another curious ex- 
perience after Mr. Bonar left. A call was 
addressed in August, 1848, to Rev. William 
Arnott, Free St. Peter's, Glasgow. Mr. 
Arnott was inclined to accept the invita- 
tion, but the Glasgow Presbytery declined 
to place the call in his hands, and decided 
that he should remain where he was. The 



William 



age in 
earnest 



2i >8 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



vacancy in the South Church continue;! 
until March, 1849, when Rev. John Adam, 
of Dalkeith, was inducted to the charge. 

Mr. Adam's ministry was a long and in- 
fluential one, and it was the means of lay- 
ing on a firm foundation the 
prosperity which has since been char- 
acteristic of the congregation. In the 
pulpit Mr. Adam proved an able and 
edifying preacher, but it was as a man of 
affairs that he made his mark. He took 
an active part in the life of the community, 
serving on various public boards of re- 
ligious and charitable institutions, while 
in the Presbytery and Synod he played a 
prominent part, and soon became an ac- 
knowledged leader. He was a man of per- 
sonality and power, and filled a large place 
in the life of the city in his day. In 1867 
he accepted a call to Wellpark Church, 
Glasgow, but he found his great 
opportunity when he became Home Mission 
Secretary of the Church. His business gifts 
then found full scope, and in the General 
Assembly and throughout the Church at 
large Dr. John Adam became one of the 
most prominent and powerful figures. 

In 1868, Rev. John M. Sloan was trans- 
ferred from Dalkeith to the South Church 
in succession to Dr. Adam, and his 
ministry proved very successful in every 
way. He raised the membership to a 
higher point than it had formerly reached, 
and he was also the means of starting 
many new organisations in connection with 
the congregation. One of these was a 
Ladies' Work Party, which is said to have 
been the first of the kind in the city. Mr. 
Sloan was minister of the South during the 
great Moody and Sankey campaign, and 
he threw himself earnestly into the move- 
ment, with the result that many were 
added to the church. After ten years' 
work in Aberdeen, marked by a ripeness of 
spiritual teaching which many still grate- 
fully remember, Mr. Sloan followed the 
example of his predecessor in going to 
Glasgow, but he subsequently accepted a 
call to the Grange Church, Edinburgh, 
where he carried on a fruitful ministry for 
many years until his retirement recently 
from active service. 

Rev. George H. Knight, M.A., formerly 
of Dollar, was the next minister. Mr. 
Knight's forte" was his preaching. Ill- 
health prevented him from undertaking 
much outside or general work, and the 
bulk of his time was devoted to pulpit pre- 
paration, with most excellent results. Mr. 
Knight enjoyed the distinction of being 
regarded as "the artist preacher of the 



Free Church," and his sermons, with then- 
poetry and their mysticism, not only 
charmed lii.s own congregation, but 
attracted many members of other churches, 
who felt the fascination of his pulpit gifts. 
There was a glamour about the style of 
his sermons and an uplifting influence in 
their teaching which made them almost 
unforgettable. His delivery was quiet, yet, 
with its tender tones, in perfect keeping 
with the spirit of his preaching. In 1889 
Mr. Knight accepted a lighter charge at 
Bearsden, near Glasgow, but since then he 
has been obliged to retire altogether from 
active work, to the regret of all who are 
jealous for the traditions of the Scottish 
pulpit. 

After Mr. Knight's departure, there was 
a somewhat prolonged vacancy, which in 
the end was most satisfactorily filled by 
the election to the pastorate of Rev. W. 
M. Clow, B.D.. of Uddingston. Mr. Clow's 
ministry is still fresh in the public mind. 
His geniality of manner and wonderful 
faculty of remembering faces and Christian 
names were of great service to him ; and 
these, together with his capacity for work, 
and his able, inspiring, and forceful 
preaching, made his occupancy of the 
pastorate a most successful one. Mr. Clow 
had the note of a true preacher. He had 
strong convictions of hi6 own, and he was 
fearless in delivering his message. It was 
during his term that the present handsome 
church was built, the congregation being 
greatly encouraged in the enterprise by the 
munificence of Mr. John Gray, the donor 
of Gray's School of Art, who was then a 
member of the Kirk-Session. The lack of 
hall accommodation had been severely felt, 
and a movement of some kind wa6 felt to 
be necessary. It was decided to erect a 
new building, but it was made a condition 
that the site should be in the same locality, 
so that the congregation should not follow 
the too common fashion of going west- 
wards. The old church — which was one of 
the three under the handsome brick spire 
at the corner of Belmont Street and 
Schoolhill — is now converted into halls and 
classrooms for the East Church. The new 
church — which was designed by Mr. A. 
Marshall Mackenzie, A.R.S.A. — was 
formally opened by Dr. Ross Taylor, of 
Glasgow, in presence of the Lord Provost, 
Magistrates, and Town Council, who 
attended the service in their official 
capacity. Mr. Clow, in 1897, accepted a 
call to be colleague to the late Dr. Hood 
Wilson, in the Barclay Church, Edinburgh, 
and he more recent! v became the first 



The funeral of Mr Daud Wyliie Abernethy 
(of Messrs Jame6 Abernethy and Co.) took place 
yesterday from decca^ed^s residence. Ferry- ' 
mil Cottage, Prospect i err ace, vo .vlii.nvaie 
Cemetery, and was attended by a large and 
representative company ot mourners. The Rev. 
John A. Irvine, South United Free Church, 
and Professor Stalker officiated at the service. 
The chief mourners were:— Mesens James 
Washington Abernethy; Robert W'yHie, Banff- 
A. H. Wyliie, Miutle; J. Hail Beanie, Lon- 
don; John Heunie. liallater ; Alexander Ronnie, 
London; Mr James Harvey, Monykebbock; 
ami Mr John Lou tit.. Bridge of Don (cousins) ; 
Mr William M "Allan. Feayhill Cottage 
(nephew)-; Mr William Garden, Albyn Terrace; 
Mr James Duguid, advocate; and Mr M. M. 
Duncan, advocate. 

REV. JOHN M. SLOAN - , FORMERLY 
OF ABERDEEN. 

The death took place suddenly on Saturday 
at Lucaston, Crieff, of the Rev. John M. Sloan, 
late of Grange U.F. Church, Edinburgh, and 
of the South Free Church, Aberdeen. Mr 
Sloan came to Aberdeen as minister of the 
South Free Church, in succession to Dr Adam, 
in 1868, and spent ten years in the city as pastor 
of that congregation. He was very successful 
in his ministry, and raised the membership to 
a higher point than it had formerly reached, 
and started many new organisations in connec- 
tion with the congregation. Mr Sloan was full 
of evangelical fervour, and took a leading part 
locally in the Moody and Sankey campaign. 
He followed the example of his predecessor in 
going to Glasgow, and subsequently accepted a 
call to the Grange Church, Edinburgh, where 
he carried on a fruitful ministry for many years 
until his retirement eome years ago. 

« wv ■■*•■ ^* */*/ir 



REV. GEORGE H. KSIGHT. 
The death has occurred at Almanarre, Gare- 
lochbead Dumbartonshire, of Rev. George Halley 
Krwht who succeeded Rev. John M. Sloan as 

5SSBE S.5S S^B 

Ai^JvTJTw- a brothe* of Professor 

rStor S b pCch%r be stood. » the firs, rank. 
Mr^mgChad no sympathy w-ito seasmuomW 

^anTn^ of SUTphA-l condor,, hue 
by any rot». Aberdeen was most laborious, and 
& 5TfZ£^5S in the pulpit throughout 
n« -was » ♦" Soodand. Much regret was ex- 
±J^wU he °S. Abenhen for Bearsden, but 
f^n TvSLwd a warm interest m Aberdeen 
^ n tne^Sfare of the South Church. Mr 
viS h« ^ dosoribed as "theartisf 
Kmgb* ha* ^ Church," and his muustrj 
SS23 nSt «ly Sto o- congregauon b* to 
r^m be^up of other t^anf^n 8 ; 
"****, fa oulpit^t Owh«f to iSh, Mr 

Hf,^ 5 a minikin the West of Scot- 
rJd ^ f" his ^ »nd helpful part m 
Srch^Tu^ration. Mr Knfcht was 92 year, 

of age, 'VW'f'l 



SOUTH UNITED FREE CHURCH 



209 



minister of the Stevenson Memorial 
( Ihurch, Glasgow. 
Rev. William Mackintosh Mackay, B.D., 

was inducted as minister of the South 
Church on Thursday, 6th January, 1898. 
He was a native of Glasgow, and he 
came of a Levitical stock. Hi-s father 
was minister of Young Street Free Church, 
Glasgow, for many years, and his maternal 
grandfather was Rev. Donald Sage, of 
Besolis, a famous Disruption worthy. Mr. 
Mackay had a most distinguished Univer- 
sity career, and, after the usual theological 




Rev. W. Mackintosh Maokay, B.D. 

course at the Free Church College, Glas- 
gow, he was for a short time assistant in 
St. John's, Dundee, and Westbourne, 
Glasgow. He was then called to Troon, 
and there he immediately made a name for 
himself. His church was crowded with 
visitors during the summer ; his preaching 
fame spread, and invitations began to 
reach him from various parts of the 
country. These were all passed over, and 
until the South Church call was addressed 
to him, he seemed immovable. He yielded 
to the claims of Aberdeen, and he had no 
reason to regret his decision. From the 
first, his ministry was conspicuously suc- 
cessful. He came with the reputation of 
being an eloquent preacher, and this re- 



prosper it y 
maintained 
only did 
but by 



and 

of 

in 

the 

Mr. 



putation he fully maintained, while in the 
bracing intellectual atmosphere of the 
Granite City his preaching was mellowed 
and enriched. Mr. Mackay continue'.! in 
the pastorate for nearly ten years 
during that time the 
the congregation was 
every respect. Not 

membership increase, 
Mackay's eloquence and power as a 
preacher, many strangers were attracted 
to the church, and there were always 
large and representative attendances. In 
November, 1907, Mr. Mackay accepted a 
call to Sherbroke Church, Pollokshields, 
and thus returned to become a minister in 
his native city. 

The vacancy in the South Church was 
tilled by the induction in April, 1908, of 
Rev. John A. Irvine, B.A., formerly of 
Wallace Green Presbyterian Church, Ber- 
wick. A native of Liverpool, and trained 
for the ministry of the English Pres- 
byterian Church, Mr. Irvine had been 
ordained in 1891, and had been minister of 
a church in Liverpool before his settlement 
in Berwick at Wallace Green Church, the 
historic charge which Principal Cairns and 
other eminent men had served. 

The- succession of prominent members in 
the South Church has been well main- 
tained. Principal Brown, Dr. Keith, the 
founder of the Porthill Sunday School ; 
Mr. John Cook of Ashley, Mr. John Gray, 
Dr. Henry Jackson, Sir David Stewart, 
Mr. A. O.'Gill of Fairfield— these were all 
at one time more or less intimately con- 
nected with the congregation ; and in the 
present kirk-session there are some of our 
leading public men. In this conneetion 
there may be cited Mr. David Abernethy, 
Mr. George M. Cook, Mr.* Alexander 
Aitken, Mr. George England, Mr. Thomas 
Lillie, banker; Mr. Alexander Duffus, ad- 
vocate ; Mr. Thomas Jaffrey, banker ; Mr. 
Alexander Marr (of A. Pirie and Sons, 
Ltd.), Mr. David Manson, late of the In- 
land Revenue; Councillor Kendall Bur- 
nett, Councillor Milne, Councillor Stewart, 
and many others whose names will readily 
suggest themselves. The minister has the 
support of a goodly band of office-bearers 
— 36 elders and 30 deacons — a large staff 
but none too large for a membership of 
about 1200. 

In seeking to sum up and record some 
general impressions of the South congi-ega- 
tion, several points at once suggest them- 
selves. Perhaps the first is the splendid 
attendances always found at the regular 
church services. Wherever there may be 



210 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 





Rev. John A. Irvine, B.A. 

a decline in church attendance, it certainly 
has not been here. At the church census 
taken by the " Aberdeen Journal " some 
years ago, the South Church came first in 
the city, with 1023 present at one service. 
This was no exceptional occasion, for the 
commodious building always seems well 
filled. The next thing likely to impress a 
visitor is the fine blending of the different 
classes in the community. In the South 
Church, Kipling's line, "East is East and 
West is West, and never the twain shall 



meet," has a refutation which is very 
apparent. In this handsome .church the 
East-Ender and the West-Ender worship 
under one roof ; the successful city 
man and the toiling artisan rub 
shoulders week by week. In few con- 
gregations has this mixing been more ap- 
parent, and this very fact has unquestion- 
ably been one of the secrets of the con- 
tinued vitality of the church. The remark- 
able loyalty of the South Church members 
to their own church, and their own 
minister for the time being, has often 
been the subject of humorous comment. 
For them there is no church like the South 
Church, whether the old building or the 
new, and no minister like the minister of 
the South, whoever he may be for the 
time. This is in many respects a very ad- 
mirable trait, and it must have done mucu 
to save the South Church from feeling to 
any appreciable extent the pressure which 
is being experienced by all mid-town 
churches. The members have continued 
coming from the suburbs and from every 
quarter of the town, despite all disadvant- 
ages and inconveniences. While this ex- 
treme loyalty which has been so marked a 
feature of the South congregation has had 
its beneficial effect, it may also, to some 
extent, have exercised a slightly un- 
fortunate and detrimental influence. It 
may have tended to make the members 
rather "clannish" and exclusive. Yet 
this is only the defect of a quality, and an 
extreme "esprit de corps" is so rarely 
to be met with in congregational life in 
these days that, when one does find it. 
there is felt to be more cause for con- 
gratulation than for criticism. 



LII.— TORRY UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Torry U.F. Church. 

The movement for providing a Free 
Church in the fishing village of Torry dates 
from tie Disruption. To Dr. Spenoe, of 
St. Clement's, the Aberdeen Presbytery 
committed the care of this new cause, and 
he took prompt and vigorous action to put 
the station into working order. In after 
years, Dr. Spence was wont to tell with 
pardonable pride how he got the first Free 
Church in Torry erected. He had it 
planned, built, and opened free of debt all 
within the eventful year of 1843. It was 
a wooden structure, built on a site on the 
river bank between what was known as 
Pierhead and Bank Street, and it cost 
exactly £40. Though by no means a pre- 
tentious edifice, yet it admirably served its 
purpose for the public services, Sabbath 
School, and mission work for many years. 

For a considerable time no stated 
preacher or missionary was appointed. Dr. 
Spence himself preached on Sunday even- 
ings, or found preachers, clerical or lay, in 
the city. When the Aberdeen Free Church 
College was founded and organised it 
proved a source of help and encouragement 
to the cause at Torry. The Principal and 
professors, with great readiness, preached 



to the fisher folk from time to time, and it 
is worthy of note that the three successive 
Principals — Drs. Lumsden, Brown, and 
Salmond — were each in his own time par- 
ticularly good friends to the Torry Church. 
Many students also crossed the Dee to try 
their 'prentice hand at preaching, and, 
among others, was an arts student, Alex- 
ander Whyte, whose praise is to-day in all 
the churches. Principal Whyte, in giving 
expression to his deep interest in the little 
falling community, delights to tell that he 
preached his first sermon in Torry. In 
those early days, before the erection of the 
Victoria Bridge, the journey from Aber- 
deen to Torry was not one to be lightly 
undertaken. Access on Sundays was by 
way of the Suspension Bridge, and, with 
bare, unprotected paths and scarcely any 
regular road, it required some coinage to 
face the journey from the bridge to the 
village on a dark, stormy night. Some- 
times the preacher did not appear, per- 
haps because his heart failed him. On 
other occasions a request would be sent to 
the visitor to come across in daylight, the 
assurance being offered that at the close of 
the service a number of hardy fishermen 
would give him a Scotch convoy to the end 
of the bridge. Some thrilling stories are 
told of the experiences of preachers on 
these dreary winter nights. 

The old wooden church gathered around 
it many happy associations, and under 
the fostering care of Dr. Spence the 
little body of people increased until 
it became necessary to face a new 
scheme of church building. About 

this time, Dr. Murray, of the North 
Church, became associated with the work, 
and he took up the building project and 
saw it carried forward to success — the 
congregation entering their new place 
of worship in 1865 or 1866, entirely 
freo of any burden of debt. The church 
was built to accommodate 250 worshippers 
in the area, and, later on, an end gallery 
and session-house were erected. Early in 
the 'sixties the Presbytery appointed stated 
preachers to carry on the work. Those 
appointed were for the most part proba- 
tioners, and one of the first, if not the very 
first, to hold the position was Rev. George 
Cassic, afterwards minister at Hopeman. 
Rev. Finlay M. Harper, M.A., of Martyrs' 
Church, Wick, also laboured for several 



212 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



years as probationer in charge of the sta- 
tion, and hivS work was productive of lasting 
good. During this time a remarkable re- 
vival movement began which did much to 
raise the whole moral and spiritual tone of 
the community. As a result of this move- 
ment, the church attendances greatly in- 
creased, and steps were taken by the Pres- 
bytery to appoint an interim kirk-session 
and grant sealing ordinances to the con- 
gregation. On fith December, 1870, the 
interim kirk-session was ap pointed as fol- 
lows, namely: — Dr. Spenee (moderator), 
Dr. David Brown, Rev. George Macdonald, 
and Messrs. James Inglis, David Mac- 
donald, James Bryce, and John Clark. The 
first Communion of the congregation was 
celebrated on 13th April, 1871, Rev. George 
MacDonald, of St. Columba, preaching in 
the forenoon, and Bev. Alexander Leslie, 
of Bon-Accord Church, in the evening. 

In September, 1871, Bev. William Innes, 
probationer, then stationed at South 
Ronaldshay, was appointed to take up the 
work in Torry in succession to Mr. Harper, 
and after he had laboured for about two 
years, steps were taken to have the con- 
gregation raised to the status of a regular 
pastoral charge. This was carried out in 
clue form, and Mr. Innes was elected first 
minister of the congregation and ordained 
to the pastorate of the church on 20th 
November, 1873. The list of members on 
the communion-roll at that date numbered 
34, and of these, four still remain members 
of the church. On 18th October, 1874, an 
election of elders and deacons having taken 
place, those who accepted office were or- 
dained, and the first permanent kirk-ses- 
sion and deacons' court were constituted. 
The elders ordained were two in number — 
Mr. John Cormack and Mr. James Wood — 
and these two laboured faithfully and 
zealously in their office and as Sabbath 
School teachers and mission workers con- 
siderably over 30 years. Mr. Innes dis- 
charged his pastoral duties with great 
fidelity and acceptance, and also applied 
himself with much diligence to the educa- 
tional interests of Torry. The Education 
Act of 1872, providing for the appoint- 
ment of School Boards, had come into force 
shortly before his settlement in the dis- 
trict, and as a member of the first School 
Board he had much to do with the intro- 
duction of the new order of things. Torry 
had also a burning question in its educa- 
tional affairs over the site of the school 
provided for in the bequest of the laird of 
Balnagask. Mr. Innes claimed that the 
school should be erected in the village of 
Torry, and, although fighting single- 



handed, he ultimately gained the victory. 
In the temperance cause he was also an 
earnest worker while devoting himself 
zealously to the duties of his pastorate. He 
had pioneer work to do and pioneering 
difficulties to encounter. At the time of 
his settlement there was no manse for the 
minister and no suitable house within a 
reasonable distance of the church. He set 
himself to supply this want, and, having 
secured liberal subscriptions from many 
friends — notably from Sir William Hender- 
son — a site was secured from the Land 
Association, one of the very fiist sites 
granted by them on the south side of the 
i iver. The erection of the manse was pro- 
ceeded with, but before it was completed 
Mr. Innes received and accepted a call to 
Skene, where he was inducted on 29th 
January, 1879. An able and thoughtful 
preacher, and a man of evangelical sym- 
pathies, Mr. Innes rendered good .service 
as the first minister of the Torry Church, 
and the membership, which he found at 
34, was steadily augmented during the 
years of his pastorate until it numbered 
close on 140 at the time he left. 

The next minister was Bev. Alexander 
Simpson, B.A., B.Sc, formerly school- 
master at Dyce. Mr. Simpson, alter 
studying for the ministry and qualifying 
as a probationer, adopted for a time the 
teaching profession, and was highly suc- 
cessful as head master at Dyce. Having 
accepted the call to Torry, he was ordained 
there on 5th April, 1879, and laboured 
with much acceptance for six years- and a 
half, until September. 1885, when he re- 
moved to his present charge in Cunningham 
Church, Glasgow. Mr. Simpson was a man 
of much energy, and, in addition to dis- 
charging with zeal and efficiency the duties 
of his pastorate, he likewise gave much of 
his time to other branches of work. He was 
an enthusiastic Presbytery man, taking his 
full share of the work, and ultimately serv- 
ing as acting clerk : he was also a strong 
educationist, and took an active part in 
School Board work ; while on the licensing 
and other public questions he made his in- 
fluence felt to a considerable degree. 

On Mr. Simpson's departure, a call was 
addressed to Bev. Edward Brown, who was 
ordained to the charge on 17th December. 
1885. Mr. Brown was a student in arts at 
Glasgow University, and his first year in 
divinity was taken in Glasgow Free Church 
College, under Professor A. B. Bruce. Pro- 
fessor Henry Drummond. and others. He 
completed his theological course at the New 
College, Edinburgh, where, like so many 
others, he came under the spell of Pro- 



Death of Former Torry 
Minister.! 

THE REV. ALEXANDER SIMPSON. 

Rev. Alexander Simpson, senior ministei 
of Cunninghame United Free Church, 
Glasgow, died on Monday morning at his 
residence, Myrtle Park, Crosshill. For 15 
years Mr Simpson was assistant clerk of 
Glasgow Presbytery, and i,n that capacity 
rendered valuable service to the Church. 
He also served for twelve years on Glasgow 
School Board, devoting his talents and 
husiness capacity very assiduously to the 
cause of higher education. Mr Simpson, 
who was born in Glasgow, Graduated in 
Arts and Science at London LTniversity, 
and after being parochial schoolmaster at 
Dyce for twelve years, turned to the min- 
istry. He was inducted to the charge of 
Torry Free Church in 1879. Six years 
later he was translated to Cunninghamc 
Church, in the Govanhill district of Glas- 
gow. L T nder his pastorate a new church 
and halls were opened. Mr Simpson gath- 
ered round him a large congregation, whose 
attachment he held by fine personal qual 
ities as well as by devotion to his duties 
and the ability and zeal with which he dis- 
charged them. Three years ago, owing to 
failing health, he visited Egypt and the 
Holy Land. His death, though not unpx- 
pected, will be widely regretted. Mr Simp- 
son was a man of great energy, and when 
in Aberdeen, in addition to his arduous 
labours in Torry, he gave a great deal of 
attention to many departments of public 
work. He took a leading share in the 
business of the Presbytery, and for some 
time gave his services as acting clerk. He 
was also very active in temperance reform 
in Aberdeen. 






Appreciation of Torry 
Minister. 



THE LATE REV. A. SIMPSON. 

In connection with the death of the Rev. 
Alexander Simpson late of Torry (reported j 
in our last week's issue) "G. W." writes:] 
— It is 30 years since Mr Simpson left 
Torry, where a new generation has in the 
meantime arisen, but I am to speak of a 
pre-existence at Dyce, where as school- 
master first under the parochial system 
and afterwards under the School Board he 
was indeed guide, philosopher, and friend 
to the youth of the parish. He set a high 
example to the scholars of all that he 
sought to inculcate in them— patience, dili- 
gence, courage, and high hope, and in these 
strenuous times he at least must have lived 
laborious days. Yet he was no bespec- 
tacled recluse. He was full of fun and 
kindly humour, and his merry laugh was 
good to hear. He found time and inclina- 
tion to engage in his enthusiastic way in 
the simple games of the boys, and his act- 
ivity made him the equal of the fleetest- 
footed boy in the school and the despair of 
the short-legged chappies. He was ac- 
knowledged to be a successful teacher, and 
in applying the rule of three he did not 
overlook the rule of life. His eagerness to 
turn out good scholars: was equalled by his 
desire to produce, good men, and his sever- 
est punishments were reserved not for 
breaking the rules of grammar, but for of- 
fences of another kind. He trusted his 
boys, and they in turn loved him, and he 
must fill the memories of all who really 
knew him a place all his own. 

THE FUNERAL. 

The funeral took place on Thursday of 
last week from the Joint Station, Aber- 
deen, to Nellfield Cemetery. The follow- 
ing were among the general company of 
mourners : — Professor Selbie, Rev. Andrew 
M' Queen, Rev. Alexander Murray, Torry 
U.F. Church; Rev. T. B. Robertson, New- 
hills U.F. Church; Mr Patrick Cooper, ad- 
vocate; Rev. Dr Matthews, etc. j_£ 

>Xi~" o- 



/*... 



^'//4r 



TORRY UNITED FREE CHURCH 



213 



fessor A. B. Davidson. On being licensed, he 
acted for four months as assistant to Rev. 
Alex. Paterson at Bainsford, and was then 
asked to start a new congregation at 
Craigneuk, near Motherwell. In this 
mining district a wooden church was 
erected, and good work was being done in 
forming the nucleus of a congregation ; 
but within four months Mr. Brown was 
called to Tony. 

The congregation, which was then wor- 
shipping in the old church in Sinclair Road 
(at that time known as Church Street), was 
almost exclusively composed of fisher 
people. Torry was then a fishing village 




Rev. Edward Brown. 

standing entirely by itself and with a life 
and an interest all its own. For some 
years after Mr. Brown's settlement the 
little community had to face a rather hard 
struggle. The fishing industry was then 
in a transition stage. Trawling and other 
new departures had upset the fixed order 
of things, and a time of crisis had to be 
passed through. The fishermen were 
jealous of their rights and privileges, and 
afraid lest their whole prospects should 
he placed in jeopardy, and in such trying 
times Mr. Brown proved a friend indeed. 
He took an interest in all their affairs, and 
in the conferences and agitations of the 
time he placed his services freely at their 
disp sal. By-and-by, however, the time 
of stress and uncertainty passed, and a 
new Torry came into being. Building 



operations were soon in progress in all 
directions, a new population crowded in, 
and the whole aspect of the district under- 
went a transformation. Naturally the 
changed state of affairs began to tell upon 
the church life. The congregation deve- 
loped steadily every year, and in 1899 it 
became evident that, if it was hoped to 
cope with the needs of the great and grow- 
ing community thus suddenly gathered, a 
new and more commodious church on a 
better site would be an absolute necessity. 

Accordingly a feu was secured in Victoria 
Road, and on 26th October, 1889, the 
memorial stone of the new edifice was laid 
by Sir William Henderson. The work was 
so expeditiously carried through that the 
opening services were held on 22nd June, 
1890, the special preachers on the occasion 
being Professor Laidlaw, of Edinburgh, 
and Rev. W. M. Clow, of the South Church. 
The cost of the building was about £2500, 
and as the result of persistent effort in col- 
lecting subscriptions, and by means of a 
bazaar held in 1892, the congregation were 
able to congratulate themselves in March, 
1893, on the fact that their property was 
entirely free of debt. Oi-iginally the 
church was built to accommodate about 520 
persons in the area, but in 1903 it was 
found that this was barely sufficient to 
meet the needs of the steadily increasing 
membership, and it was decided to proceed 
with the erection, at a cost of £300, of a 
gallery giving accommodation for 170 addi- 
tional sittings. Attention was next 
directed to securing suitable hall accom- 
modation for the Sabbath School, and 
other organisations, and a suite of halls 
was erected in 1898 at a cost of £600, the 
whole expense being cleared off by three 
sales of work held in one year. Up to this 
time the Sunday School had been carried 
on in the old church, which still remains 
the property of the congregation. Although 
the congregational school was transferred 
to the new hall, it was arranged to con- 
tinue a school in the old premises as well, 
and the result has been that from then till 
now the congregation has had two large 
Sunday schools, with about 50 teachers and 
550 scholars. 

Mr. Brown's time, as can be readily 
imagined, was fully occupied with the pro- 
motion of the various building schemes 
necessitated by the steady increase of the 
congregation, all of which he had to under- 
take in addition to his regular pastoral 
work. He was also able, however, to take 
a considerable share of parochial, educa- 
tional, and public work generally. For 
eight years he was a member of Nigg School 



214 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



Rev. Alexander Murray, M.A. 

Board, and for six years after the inclusion 
of Torry in the city of Aberdeen he repre- 
sented the district on the Aberdeen School 
Board. During his connection with the 
Aberdeen Board he acted as convener of the 
Scripture Knowledge Committee, and per- 
sistently advocated the introduction of 
temperance teaching in the schools. Tem- 
perance work has always claimed his special 
sympathy. In the Aberdeen U.F. Presby- 
tery, as convener of the Presbyterial Tem- 
perance Committee, he came to be regarded 
as a special champion of the cause, and in 



the community of Torry he wa*; inti- 
mately connected with every one of the 
now well-known movements, by means of 
plebiscite and otherwise, to oppose the 
granting of new public-house licences to 
the district. 

In 1906 Mr. Brown accepted a call to 
the church of Belhelvie and Shiels, and in 
1909 he was again transferred to West 
Scotland Street Church, Glasgow. Rev. 
Alexander Murray, M.A., of the English 
Church, Stornoway, was called to succeed 
him at Torry. Mr. Murray is a man of 
warm evangelical sympathies, and he is 
maintaining the traditions of the congre- 
gation, as is evidenced by its continuous 
activity in all aggressive religious move- 
ments. 

The circumstances of the congregation 
have greatly changed within the last 
twenty years. The fisher people now form 
not more than one-third of the member- 
ship — the other two-thirds being represen- 
tative of the various classes composing 
the new community. It is worthy of note 
that the Torry Church has been the centre 
of, or has been directly connected with, 
several revival movements. In 1859, 1869, 
1886, and 1894 the district was stirred to 
its depths, and on several of these occa- 
sions the church reaped a considerable har- 
vest, some of the most devoted office- 
bearers and workers of to-day dating their 
connection from one or other of these 
eventful years. The altered aspect of 
affairs in Tony requires the adaptation of 
fresh methods and ever-increasing enter- 
prise and energy, but in the United Free 
congregation there has been a ready re- 
sponse to every new call to service. 



In Memoriam. 



\ 



Rev. Andrew Doak, 
late of Trinity. 

(By "Ecclesiasticus.")^^// 

Some seventeen yeans have passed since Mr 
Doak retired from active ministerial Work in 
Aberdeen. The greater part of that period has 
been spent in the quiet of his home among the 
trills at Can- Bridge, and he has thus been en- 
tirely withdrawn from the public life of the 
city in which for so many years be was one of 
the leading figures. A new generation may have 
been arising to whom his personality and work 
are but traditions from the past, yet there are 
still many in Aberdeen, of varying shades of 
>n and in widely different walks of life, 
for whom his deatli will mean a sense of per- 1 
sonal loss and the breaking of many tender ties J 
of genuine affection. 

A Powerful Speaker. 

The great work which Mr Doak accompli shed 
in Aberdeen and whioli is still alive in its in- 
fluence may be said to have been due to a com- 
bination of ability and personality. He had a 
l.ablv keen and vigorous intellect and a 
singular gift in expressing himself with direet- 
l d 1 l.i his prime he was, both in 

the pulpit and on the platform, one of the most 

it powerful speakei-s in the city. 
In the political arena he was in the heart of 
many a tight— his advancel Radicalism maiung 
him the Hero of one sot and the despair of | 
another. But the remarkable thing was that 
he succeeded in retaining, both as personal j 
friends ami as members 01 his congregation, I 
many to whom his political opinions and activi- ! 
tiea were anathema. This was only one of many 
proofs of the striking hold his personality exer- 
cised over all with whom he came in contact. 
To these of us who never had the privilege of 

his ministry and who knew 
him personally only after he bad retired 
from active work, it has been a constant re- 
velation to note how ho had retained in un- 
impaired degree, even after the lapse of manv 
esteem and confidence and love of 
iiis oong rogation. Mr Doak's ministry _ in 
Trinity United Free Chwrcn was a conspicu- 
ously successful one. Although new oongrciga- 
| tions were springing up in the suburbs, aJid 
tho strain on central ohWchcs was every year 
becoming more severe, yet Trinity Church 
during ail the 22 years of his ministry was able 
worthih to maintain its position both in size i 
and influence. This of itself was a striking I 
tribute to Mr Doak's work, but the place he 
held in the hearts of the people long after his 
day's work was done v. as the beet proof of its 
enduring value. His love for his old congrega- 
tion never wavered, and he greatly rejoiced in 
its increasing prosperity in more recent years. 

His Influence. 

With all his geniality of temperament, Mr 
Doaik was a man of fearless outspokenness. 
Ho had strong convictions, and he never sought 
to hide them. In theoiogy he took an inde- 
pendent position, and he never concealed h:s 
•views. He was in some respects a fine type 
of the^Moderate at his best — tho Moderate of 
attractive personal qualities and large-hearted 
humanity. Tho Evangelical note was not 
perhaps so pronounced in Mr Doak's preaching 
as in that of many of his brethren, but there 
was no preaching more charged with etliioal 
on or more earnestly insistent on tho 
practical application of Christianity to every 
b of life. It was robust preaching, 
throbibScpr with reality. 



Mr Doak lett his impress on many who came 
under his influence in their early days and who 
afterwords became widely known in various 
spheres of life. One of them was the late Rev. 
George Abel, of Udny, whose (1 Wylins fae my 
Wallet " established his fame as an Aberdeen- 
shire poet. It was Mr Doak's retirement that 
called forth the first poem ever published from 
George Abel's pen. It appeared at the time in 
the " Evening Express " under the title of 
" The Farewell of an ex-Captain," and it may 
fittingly be reproduced now when its words have j 
a still deeper significance. 

My name is Captain Ex ; 

And for years I walked the decks, 
Of the gallant, good old ship, the Trinitie ; 

I sign'd off with a sigh. \ 

Bi" t*y 

How lie can steer the Trin. across the sea. 

In weather rough and wild, 

In weather calm and mild, 
I have headed her to Beulah's sunny shore; 

If I e'er have left the tra K. 

Curl's mercy will not lack, 
Forgive me, for I'll touch the wheel no more. 

We were a happy new, 

Tho' we had our battles too, 
'Board the good old ship, the gallnt Trinitie. 

But we fought our fights like men, 

Then shook hands as mates again, 
And we ploughed our way once more across the sea. 

WeM i hangi a evermore, 

We'd changes glad and sore. 
We have cried, and laugh'd, and sigh'd within an 
hour; 

We rang the martfage bell, 

We toll'd the funeral knell. 
But we sailed our shin in sunshine and in shower. 

"God speed (he dear old bark ! 

blesv m light and 

la th" pvaver of Paptsnn Ks v'i> -ii'M the n'nin; 

T,]l He who keeps the log, 

l i i he land li •.. ond the fos 

Shall call him to the Captain's bridge again. 

After many years .-111(1 in a ripe old ego. Mr 
Doak has now passed to " the land beyond the 
fog." but he has loft a memory which will be 
fragrant to many till thoy meet him at 
The roll-ca' \ mil the Stai 



Late Rev, Andrew Doak, Trinity 
Jyi? U.F. Church. r ~ T „ . 

The Rev. Andrew Doaik, senior minister of 
Trinity United Free Church, Aberdeen, died 
yesterday at S*ruan, Can -Bridge where be had 
been living in retirement. Mr Dealt, who was 
born at Ochiltree in 1838, studied at Glasgow 
University and the Glasgow Free Gbuiroh 
College. He was ordained at Botsbwell in 1872, 
and translated to Trinity Church, Aberdeen, in 
1879, continuing in the active work of the 
ministry till 1901, when the Rev. William 
■Stoddart wa3 called to be his colleague and 
successor. Subsequently the Rev. T. Angus 
Eraser became his colleague on Mr Stoddairt's 
removal to Glasgow. Mr Doak, in addition to 
keeping up the congregation at a very high 
level, became prominomit in public work, and 
took an advanced position both in* politics and 
theology. For several years he was one of the 
moat prominent and popular platform speakers 
in Aberdeen. From a public point of view, on© | 
of the most important appointments he held was j 
that of Patron of the Seven Incorporated 
Trades of Aberdeen — a post to which Professor | 
Cowan was appointed as hJ6 successor. Mr 
Doak was twice inamed. His first wife, whom 
hemairried in 1882. was a daughter of tire late 
Mr George Thompson of Pitmedden. In 1884 
lie married Miss Maesie, by whom he is sur- 
vived, and by a family of several daughters and 
a son, an officer in tho Seaforth liighlanders, 
who has been twice wounded, j£- <£- I 



Llll— TRINITY UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Trinity U.F. Church. 

The origin of Trinity U.F. Church must 
be said to date, like, other churches of the 
denomination, from the Disruption of 
1843. In another sense, however, seeing 
it can claim the continuous history, it 
can be said to date back to 1793. In that 
year there was a vacancy in the East 
Church of the parish of St. Nicholas 
through the death of Rev. Hugh Hay, and 
the Town Council, in whom the patronage 
was vested, conferred the appointment 
on Rev. George Gordon. Many of the 
parishioners were dissatisfied, both with the 
mode of election and the choice of the 
preacher, and they made a vigorous protest 
against the whole proceedings. Their 
expression of opinion was ignored, and the 
unpopular presentee was duly settled in 
the charge. The dissentients, under the 
circumstances, felt called upon to secede 
from the congregation, and they applied 
to the Presbytery for permission to build 
a Chapel of Ease for their own use. At 
that time the population of Aberdeen was 
steadily increasing, and it was coming to 
be felt that the church accommodation was 
barely keeping pace with the growth of the 
community. The Presbytery were there- 
fore inclined to look with favour on the 
case of the petitioners, and the formal con- 
sent of the court was given to their request . 



Thus encouraged in their efforts, the dis- 
sentients set themselves with vigour to the 
formidable task of building a place of wor- 
ship. An excellent site was secured by feu- 
ing from the Incorporated Trades a piece 
of ground in the ancient garden of the 
Trinity Friars at the lower end of the 
classic Shiprow ; and almost on the very 
spot where the old Trinity Convent had 
stood the new Trinity Church was erected. 
Considerable enterprise was shown by the 
members. They built a commodious church, 
along with a session-house and manse, at 
a total cost of £2000, and although this 
was a very large sum for such a purpose in 
those days, the amount was raised almost 
entirely without outside assistance. Wis- 
dom and prudence, as well as enthusiasm 
and zeal, characterised the congregation. 
They resolved to protect themselves against 
any repetition of the unfortunate circum- 
stances which had forced them to secede 
from the mother congregation, and so they 
obtained from the General Assembly a con- 
stitution by which the election of a minister 
was vested in the male seatholders in full 
communion with the church. On Sunday, 
27th April, 1794, the church (or chapel, as 
it was occasionally designated) was opened 
for public worship by Dr. Cruden, of Nigg. 
Jt was not, however, until the month of 
October that a minister was selected, when, 
after trial of different preachers, the Rev. 
Robert Doig was appointed. 

Mr. Doig had been licensed by the Pres- 
bytery of Dundee on 12th November, 1788, 
and he was ordained by the Presbytery of 
Arbroath on 3rd March, 1791, as assistant 
in that parish. His induction to Trinity 
Church took place on 23rd October, 1794, 
and his ministry was one of marked pros- 
perity. Mr. Doig was a man of strong 
physique and an untiring worker. His 
efforts soon began to tell in the steady 
growth of the congregation — a large pro- 
portion of the members being then drawn 
from the seafaring class. So conspicuous 
was Mr. Doig's success in Trinity that when 
the East Church, from which the Trini- 
tarians had seceded, again became vacant 
in 1813, he was elected to the vacancy. It 
was surely by the irony of fate that the 
Trinity people found themselves in the 
position of supplying a minister to the very 
congregation from which their conscien- 
tious scruples had forced them to separate. 



216 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Old Trinity Church and Old Trades Hall. 

The next minister of Trinity was the Rev. 
Alexander Kirkland, who was at the time 
assistant to the Rev. Alexander Macneil, of 
St. Andrew's Chapel of Ease, Dundee. Mr. 
Kirkland had been licensed by the Presby- 
tery of Glasgow on 1st May, 1811, and his 
ordination as minister of Trinity took place 
on 13th May, 1813. From the first he gave 
promise of a career of singular usefulness, 
but after two short years of earnest work 
he was cut down in the flower of his early 
manhood at the age of 32. A man "of 
simple manners, unaffected piety, and pure 
morals," his premature death was deeply 
mourned. 

It was the custom then to have three 
Church services every Sunday, two of them 
being taken by the regular minister and 
the third by a specially-appointed lecturer. 
It was two years after the erection of 
Trinity before the congregation were able 
to afford an evening lecturer, but in 1796 
they appointed to that post one whose name 
was destined to become famous in the re- 
cords of the Church and in the annals of 
Aberdeen. He was none other than the 
celebrated Dr. James Kidd, afterwards 
minister of Gilcomston, and a professor in 
Marischal College. Dr. Stark, in his " Life 
of Dr. Kidd," saj-s — " The evening lecture- 
ship in connection with Trinity afforded 
him an opportunity of trying his wings as 
a preacher before he was weighted with the 
full responsibility of a pastorate. Gilcom- 
ston came to him in the full vigour of man- 
hood, and the fame he had won as a 
preacher to the people in Trinity gave him 
at once a position of commanding in- 
fluence." Dr. Kidd continued in the lec- 
tureship until his election to Gilcomston in 
1801, and all through his life he retained 
his love for Trinity, and he was to be found 
assisting at nearly every communion ser- 
vice. 

On the death of Mr. Kirkland the con- 
gregation found themselves for the third 
time in their short history in search of a 



minister. Their- choice on this occasion fell 
on the Rev. John Murray, M.A., then as- 
sistant to one of the parish ministers of 
Dundee. Although licensed by the Pres- 
bytery of Peebles in 1811, Mr. Murray 
hailed from Aberdeenshire. He was born 
in the parish of Clatt, and educated at the 
local school, and afterwards at the Gram- 
mar School of Aberdeen. He studied philo- 
sophy at Marisehal College, and theo- 
logy at the University of Edinburgh, and 
after completing his course he had been for 
two years a tutor to the family of Sir James 
Xasmyth of Po6so. Mr. Murray's induc- 
tion in Trinity took place on 9th January. 
1816, and he found a very unsettled and 
unsatisfactory state of affairs. Mr. Kirk- 
land, notwithstanding the personal fascina- 
tion he exercised, had experienced a troub- 
lous time with a section of the congrega- 
tion. Hie election had been carried by a 
majority over the Rev. Daniel Dewai , 
afterwards the « ell-known Principal of 
Marischal College, and the Dewar faction, 
it is assumed, made it unpleasant for him 
throughout all his short pastorate. When 
Mr. Murray came he found the two sections 
still at variance, but he was a man of firm- 
ness as well as ability, and he applied him- 
self to the situation with considerable 
moral courage. He was a powerful 
preacher, and the cynical were ready to 
say that it was meet and fitting that Trinity 
congregation, in view of their state at the 
time, should possess in their pulpit the best 
denouncer of sinners in the city. By what- 
ever means, there can be no doubt that Mr. 
Murray was largely instrumental in con- 
solidating the congregation, and leaving a 
very deep impression for good. Once again, 
by a coincidence, both curious and ironical, 
the East Church claimed the minister of 
nig offshoot, and in 1824 Mr. Murray 
bade Trinity farewell. From the East 




Old Trinity Church and Entrance to Old 
Trades Hall. 



In Aberdeen the announcement of the death of 
the Rev. Andrew Doak, senior minister of 
Trinity United Free 
Retired, Church, will recall 

but Not Forgotten, memories of a dis- 
tinctive personality, a 
gifted preacher, and a public-spirited citizen. 
Nearly twenty years ago Mr Doak left the city 
to enjoy the rest that he had earned by strenu- 
ous and devoted service. As a platform speaker 
Mr Doak gave free play to his caustio humour, 
i and even in the pulpit he did not refrain frout ' 
I a satirical thrust occasionally. He detested 
every form of pretence and humbug, and these 
I he exposed more effectively by a jibe than other 
| ministers could have done by a sermon flaming 
i with invective. Mr Doak had a fund of good [ 
i sense, and his influence was ever on the side of 
| moderation and conciliation. But he was fear- 
less and outspoken when occasion demanded, 
and his stern rebuke silenced more than one 
slander affecting the public life of the city. 
The Seven Incorporated Trades had no mote 
staunch and loyal friend than Mr Doak. 

^-/S: t -» -» "» £--*%.-/ f/f- 



TRINITY UNITED FREE CHURCH 



217 



Church he went, at the division of 
the city parish, to found the now North 
Parish Church, and leaving the Establish- 
ment at the Disruption, he founded the 
Free North. He was afterwards made a 
D.D., and Dr. John Murray is still remem- 
bered as one of the potent religious forces 
in the city in his day. His subsequent his- 
tory is bound up with the other churches 
he served, but one incident which occurred 
during his connection with Trinity may 
here be cited. The managers of Trinity 
and the bulk of the members were ad- 
herents of Queen Caroline, and at her death 
they resolved, as a sign of mourning, to 
hang the lofts of the chapel with black 
cloth. This was accordingly done in hand- 
some style. Mr. Murray, however, adhered 
to George IV., and therefore did not ap- 
prove of the draping of the chapel, and 
he resolved to interdict the proceedings 
in his own way. At a very late hour on 
the Saturday night he entered the chapel, 
along with an attendant, and immediately 
proceeded to undo the work of the man- 
agers. It was no easy task, however, and 
the Sunday had dawned before the self- 
imposed duty was completed. The affair 
was the subject of much talk at the time, 
particularly in view of the Sabbath desecra- 
tion it entailed — Mr. Murray, it is said, 
being always ready to denounce Sabbath 
desecration. Additions have doubtless 
been made to the story from time to time 
as it has been related, but it would appear 
to have at least a modicum of truth: 

For the vacancy caused by Mr. Murray's 
removal a large number of candidates were 
put before the congregation of Trinity, and 
a short leet of three was chosen. The 
three' were — Rev. David Simpson, of Burg- 
head ; Rev. William Leith, afterwards of 
the South Parish ; and Rev. Gavin Parker, 
afterwards of Ron- Accord Church. The 
excitement over the election was intense, 
the supporters of each candidate working 
hard for victory. Mr. Simpson, however, 
secured a large majority, and the call was 
made unanimous by the cordial acquies- 
cence of the minority. He was inducted 
by his predecessor on 3rd May, 1825, and 
this was the formation of a pastoral tie 
which subsisted for nearly 40 years. 

The weekly attendance at Trinity aver- 
aged about 1200, and the membership, 
which exceeded 1400, was scattered in all 
parts of the city. Mr. Simpson at once 
began his pastoral visitation, by means of 
which he exercised great influence ; he in- 
stituted a. congregational library ; urged 
the claims of foreign missions ; and, last but 



not least, among his achievements outside 
the pulpit, he started a parochial school for 
the secular education of the young people 
in the immediate vicinity of the church. 
The school was opened free of debt on 13th 
February, 1837, under the superintendence 
of Mr. John Longmuir, who was at that 
time appointed parochial schoolmaster and 
evening lecturer at Trinity. He became 
well known afterwards as Rev. Dr. John 
Longmuir, of Mariners' Free Church, to 
whose life and work reference is made in 
the history of St. Andrew's U.F. Church. 

From the beginning of the movement 
which culminated in the Disruption of 1843, 
it was quite evident where Mr. Simpson's 
sympathies lay. He took a bold and deci- 
sive course, openly declaring his opinions 
on the matter, and it was no surprise to his 
congregation when he joined in the historic 
march to Tanfield Hall, and was present at 
the formation of the Free Church. On his 
arrival in Aberdeen after the stirring 
events in Edinburgh he preached his last 
sermon in Trinity Chapel on Sunday, 11th 
June, 1843, taking as his text the pecu- 
liarly appropriate words — "Arise, let us 
go hence." Practically the entire congre- 
gation left along with Mr. Simpson, and 
the building, which, 50 years previously, 
had been erected as a protest against pat- 
ronage, was now vacated because of a re- 
newed protest. Before many weeks were 
over the chapel was deserted for want of 
worshippers, and the building was ulti- 
mately sold by the Presbytery, and Trinity 
Parish Church passed out of the ecclesias- 
tical records. Its resuscitation in 1877, or, 
rather, the formation of a new congrega- 
tion under the same name in Marischal 
Street, is dealt with under the history of 
Trinity Parish. 

The deserted Trinity Chapel stood for a 
time as an object-lesson of the power of the 
Disruption in Aberdeen, and it was not 
long before its ancient neighbour, the Old 
Trades Hall, was also left vacant and for- 
lorn. The spirit of revolution and change 
was abroad, and in some verses written at 
that time the hall was represented as 
expressing its regret in the lines: — 

" O ! mony a gossip this has bred 
At midnight, still and mirk. 
'Tween me and my deserted friend — 
The anoe prood Tarn'ty Kirk. 

An' we hae glowered' in ither's face 

Till tears stood in ilk e'e. 
To think on what we anee had been, 
An' what we soon wad be." 

The changes were destined, however, to go 
still further. Later on, when the old 



•218 



THE CHURCHES UF ABERDEEN 



Trinity Church was put in the market, its 
career as a building for public worship was 
ended, and it was henceforth devoted to 
public amusement. For many years it was 
known as the Alhambra Music Hall, and 
since then the walls have resounded to 
many sounds other than those of praise and 
prayer. 

Mr. Simpson and his people were church- 
loss for a time, but they soon found accom- 
modation with some of their neighbours. 
The services were held at first in Melville 
Church, and when it proved insufficient for 
the large congregation, Union Church was 
put at their disposal. Negotiations were 
all the while proceeding with a view to the 
erection of a new church, and in due time 
a site was secured in Crown Street. There 
the congregation, with characteristic en- 
terprise, erected a commodious church, 
and thither it removed in March, 1844. 

Mr. Simpson's connection with the con- 
gregation continued till 1864, when he 
passed away in a good old age, leaving be- 
hind him the fragrant memory of a pure 
and faithful ministry. The forty years 
during which he occupied the pastorate 
formed a memorable epoch in the history 
of Trinity, and through all the changing 
circumstances his wise counsel and the in- 
fluence of his personality were of inestim- 
able value. It wa6 but natural that he 
should also, by reason of his lengthened 
participation in public life, have become a 
prominent personage in the city. David 
Simpson, of Trinity, was one of the best 
known ministers in Aberdeen in his day, 
and also, it may be said, one of the most 
widely respected. Of criticism, however, 
ho had his share. On several public ques- 
tions he took a strong and independent 
attitude, and at times he may have had to 
encounter a certain amount of hostile 
opinion. For instance, it was said of liim 
that he was a "ringleader among the 
teetotalers who infest the town," and it 
was alleged that he headed a movement for 
(he abolition of drinking toasts at funerals. 
On the question of Sabbath observance he 
was very outspoken, and another " crime " 
laid to his charge was that, along witli 
several other city ministers — notably Rev. 
A bercromby Gordon and Rev John Murray 
— he was " a believer in the divinity of 
those mischievous revivals." On the other 
hand, Mr. Simpson's critics were con- 
strained to admit that his composition was 
considerably better than that of most of 
the evangelical ministers of his time in 
Aberdeen, and that " though filled with the 
most strange and perverted notions of the 
nature of Christianity, he was universally 



considered to be a sincere and honest 
spiritual teacher- -zealous, active, and in- 
defatigable." 

What Mr. Simpson was in the eyes of 
those who knew him best it is not difficult 
to ascertain. His personality and preach- 
ing were to them, in a sense, beyond all 
criticism. His opinions and his utterances 
might not commend themselves on every 
hand, but there was no one to question the 
absolute honesty of his position and the 
entire disinterestedness of his statements. 
As a preacher he was held in high repute 
by all the congregations of the denomina- 
tion in Aberdeen. Local history can tell 
how often he was requested to perform 
the last offices for a brother minister by 
preaching his funeral sermon, the general 
impression being that no one could dis- 
charge such a duty with the same tactful 
expression, warm sympathy, and unfailing 
wisdom as Mr. Simpson. Many of his me- 
morial tributes were published, and also a 
number of his other discourses, the com- 
plete list of his publications making a 
goodly show. Mr. Simpson's pulpit action 
has been described as powerful, but it is 
by his preaching — true and tender, few* at 
and faithful — that he will best be remem- 
bered, and by his consistent life and walk 
among the people His ministry is one of 
the traditions of the congregation he served 
so long, and Trinity can never forget David 
Simpson. His death, in 1864, was deeply 
mourned, and it was felt that a prince in 
Israel had fallen. Yet he had served his 
generation well, and after a long day's 
work he entered on the rest he had so fully 
earned. 

Some time before Mr. Simpson's death it 
had been seen that his strength was failing, 
and arrangements were made for giving 
him the assistance of a colleague and suc- 
cessor. Several candidates were heard 
with a view to their election to the post, 
among them being a probationer who was 
then quite unknown, but whose name was 
honoured throughout the world afterwards 
as one of Scotland's foremost theologians. 
He was none other than Principal Marcus 
Dods. It may seem rather a reflection 
on the critical faculty of the Trinity con- 
gregation that he secured only two 
votes, but there is the consolation — 
such as it is — that many other con- 
gregations throughout the length and 
breadth of the land showed an equal 
lack of discernment during the seven 
years when Mr. Dods wandered as a 
probationer in search of a charge. The 
choice of the congregation fell on Rev. 
W. H. Gualter, of Hawick, whose indue- 



TRINITY UNITED FREE CHURCH 



219 



tion took place in the beginning of 1864. 
For some months he held the position of 
colleague and successor to Mr. Simpson, 
and on the death of the latter he assumed 
the full pastorate. Mr. Gualter's ministry 
continued until 1877, when he accepted a 
call to St. Mark's, Glasgow. Thereafter 
Trinity had experience of a somewhat pro- 
tracted vacancy, but early in 1879 a call 
was addressed to Rev. Andrew Doak, M.A., 
of Bothwell, and cordially accepted by him. 
This was the beginning of another long and 
able and prosperous ministry, and the for- 
mation of a pastoral tie which happily re- 
mains unsevered to-day. 





Rev. Andrew Doak, M.A. 

Mr. Doak came to Trinity after having 
won his spurs elsewhere, but it was 
while he was still a young man, 
with all the freshness and vigour 
and enthusiasm of youth. He threw 
himself into the work of the charge with 
characteristic energy, and he had the satis- 
faction of seeing the fruit of his labours. 
Under Mr. Doak the congregation made 
steady progress in every respect. His 
preaching was characterised by a keen and 
vigorous intellectuality, a robustness of 
thought, and a force of expression which 
gained for him a high reputation ; while by 
his genial personality and his great human- 
ness he won the confidence and affection of 
the people in a remarkable degree. Mr. 
Doak took an Advanced Liberal position 
both in politics and theology. He became 



one of the most promineut and most effec- 
tive platform speakers in the Radical in- 
terest, and freely devoted himself to poli- 
tical and social work. Even in the pulpit 
his sympathies with regard to public ques- 
tions were never concealed. He believed 
in the practical application of Christianity 
to the affairs of life in all its aspects, and 
this to a certain extent coloured all his 
preaching. The evangelical note may not 
have been so pronounced as in the case of 
some of his brethren, but the depth of con- 
viction, the strength of purpose, and the 
unflinching outspokenness of his pulpit 
messages gave them a distinct power of 
their own, and imparted to them a telling 
force. The best tribute to the ability of 
his preaching and the success of his pas- 
torate is found in the manner in which he 
kept the large congregation around him 
during all the years of his active ministry. 
New congregations were springing up in 
the suburbs, and the strain on the central 
churches was every year becoming more 
severe, yet Mr. Doak — and to his credit be 
it said — succeeded somehow in keeping 
Trinity practically intact. He was not 
without honours, both within and without 
the Church, one of the most conspicuous, 
from a public point of view, being his ap- 
pointment to the ancient office of Patron 
to the Incorporated Trades Mr. Doak 
had always shown himself to be possessed 
of shrewd wisdom, and he gave evidence of 
it again by withdrawing from the active 
duties of his pastorate before old age, with 
its infirmities, came upon him, and before 
his work had begun to suffer from the 
effects of his advancing years. The congre- 
gation and Presbytery cordially concurred 
in his application for the appointment of 
a colleague and successor, and steps were 
taken forthwith to carry the resolution into 
effect. 

The attention of the Vacancy Com- 
mittee was turned to the Rev. William 
Stoddart, M.A., of Innellan, who had made 
a name for himself as a preacher in that 
favourite Clydeside resort. Mr. Stoddart 
during a short ministry had gained great 
popularity with residents and visitors alike, 
his church being invariably crowded to its 
utmost capacity during the summer season, 
and he had come to be regarded as one of 
the rising young men of the Church. Invi- 
tations and overtures had been given him 
from various places — including more than 
one from Aberdeen — but to all these he had 
turned a deaf ear. Trinity congregation, 
however, would not be deterred from 
making an attempt to move him. The 
hearty recommendation of the committee 



220 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



was endorsed with enthusiasm by the con- 
gregation at large, and anumerously-6igned 
and influential call was in due course pre- 
sented to Mr. Stoddart. At a meeting of 
the Presbytery of Dunoon he formally in- 
timated his acceptance, and being loosed 
from his cliarge at Innellan, he was in- 
ducted at Aberdeen in November, 1901. 
Mr. Doak then practically withdrew from 
all pastoral duty, although he was ever 
ready to assist when his services were re- 
quired. Between the two colleagues there 
existed from the first a most perfect under- 
standing. Each cherished the highest 
esteem and warmest appreciation of the 
abilities of the other, and their relations 




Rev. William Stoddart, M.A. 



were never clouded by the faintest shadow. 
This happy state of matters etill continues. 
Mr. Doak, however, has not for some time 
been resident in Aberdeen, and Mr. Stod- 
dart has been solely responsible for the 
duties of the pastorate. 

From the outset of his ministry Mr. 
Stoddart caught the ear of the city, 
and crowded congregations were drawn 
to hear him. This was accounted 

for to some extent by his frank and 
fearless pronouncements. He never 

shirked a difficulty, or tried to compro- 
mise, but with perfect outspokenness 
stated the position as it appeared to him 
at the time. Every sentence he uttered 
was charged with an intensity of convic- 



tion which made an impression on his 
hearers. Mr. Stoddart has the note of a 
true preacher, and his genius for sermon- 
coiistruction is undoubted. "While marked 
by freshness of thought and aptness of 
application to present-day conditions, his 
sermons, by reason of their wealth of illus- 
tration and fine literary style, are at the 
same time interesting and attractive to a 
degree. Some of them would, indeed, take 
high rank as specimens of prose poetry. 
His delivery is natural and unaffected, but 
characterised at times by passionate elo- 
quence, and his preaching altogether is 
worthy of the best traditions of the Aber- 
deen pulpit. 

Trinity Church has had eminent men in 
its pews as well as in its pulpit. The names 
are at once suggested of Mr. George Thomp- 
son of Pitmedden, who was in his day one 
of the pillars of the church ; Sir William 
Henderson, who was a devoted office-bearer 
until he left to help in the formation of 
Ferryhill congregation ; Mr. George Grant, 
advocate, a Disruption elder ; Baillie John 
Fraser, who was for long a respected mem- 
ber of session, and who is represented 
by his family in the ranks of the 
workers to-day ; and Mr. James S. 
Butckart, advocate, who did much in 
various ways for the congregation. These 
have all passed away, but their places 
have been taken by others. An out- 
standing feature of Trinity Church ha6 
been the large number of public men it has 
always included in its membership. To- 
day it has well-known citizens 6uch as ex- 
Lord Provost Mearns, Treasurer Meff. anil 
ex-Baillie Boddie — all prominent in muni- 
cipal circles, and othere equally well 
known in commercial and other walks 
of life. In its leading office-bearers 
Trinity has also been fortunate. Mr. 
D. B. Murray and Mr. Alexander 
Johnston, Harbour Commissioner, are the 
efficient joint session-clerks, and the elder- 
ship includes men such as Mr. Alexander 
Milne, late bookseller, who is now senior 
elder; Mr. John M'Robb, so long the 
leading spirit in the Sailors' Mis- 
sion, and others. In former times 
Mr. David Allan, of West Cults, was 
one of the foremost office-bearers of the 
congregation, holding for about 30 years 
the post of congregational treasurer, the 
duties of which he latterly handed over to 
Mr. J. C. Blake. In the deacons' 
court, as well as in the kirk-session, there 
are men of j>roved business capacity, who 
are giving ungrudging and enlightened ser- 
vice to the church. 

Mention might be made of the work of 




^C^.^^ /J/tyZ/ar. 



ABERDEEN MINISTER'S 
DEPARTURE. 



Mi* Stoddart's Farewell. 



The Rev. William Stoddart., Trinity United 
Free Church, Aberdeen, who lias accepted a 
call to Partiek High United Free Church, Glas- 
gow, took his farewell of the Trinity congrega- 
tion last night. The annual business and eocial 
meeting of the church was held in the church 
hall, when Mr and Mrs Stoddart" were pre- 
sented v>rfh parting gifts. There was a large 
attendance of the congregation and friends, 
presided over by Mr Stoddart. After tea, 

Mr James Baxter, in the absence of Mr 
Blake, congregational treasurer, submitted the 
annual financial statement, which showed that 
the total incomo was £551 9s Id, while the ex- 
penditure amounted to £543 3s 8d. The total 
sum contributed by the congregation for all 
purposes was £1200. Thai was very gratifying 
for a congregation s-uch as theirs, and tho 
deacons' court had reason to be grateful to 
the congregation for their loyal support. (Ap- j 
pla.use.) 

The report was unanimously adopted. 

Mr A. Miluc, senior elder, presented Mr | 
Stoddart with a parte and sovereigns, and Mrs < 
Stoddart with a. silver c-pirit kettle and stand ' 
and a. gold chain with pearl pendant. Mr Milne, 
in Dialling the presentation, referred to the 
various ministers who had been pastors of I 
Trinity, and wished Mr and Mrs Stoddart every j 
success in Glasgow. 

MR STODDART'S REPLY. 

Mr Stoddart, in acknowledging the gift9, said 
that, in all sincerity and without a.ny mock 
humility ho felt that their grc*t kiudnc86 on 
that occasion, though only characteristic of the 
generous and handsome way in which Trinity 
always did things and lovod to do them, wo* 
in many ways much beyond his deserts. Surely 
ho had been rewarded sufficiently for whatever 
work he had tried to do by the steadfast aj>d 
sympathetic support they, had given him in 
has work there. He did" not think his worst 
onemy would accuse him of unduly loving or 
hunting after what was sometimes called filthy 
lucre, but they could, not livo without money, 
and that well filled purse of sovereigns, not to 
be hastily spout but stored away against some 
evil day, was a most agreeable and acceptable 
gift. (Applause.) The substantial gifts to Mrs 
Stoddert would make them both rich and proud 
indeed, and would be preserved and often 
looked at us pleasant memories of a happy and 
aid too short ten years in Aberdeen. Ho had 
been proud to be a minister m that beautiful city, 
and, though with no gifta or time to take part 
in irs public affaire, he had admired its beauty 
(Agplauea.) 

A Brief adddess was delivered by the Renr. 
Robert Forgan. 

During the evening an enjoyable musical pro- 
gramme was submitted, contributed bv Miss 
J. Granna, Mr R. R Chrcc, Mks B. Gibeon, 
and Mr D. Brown GilL Miss ('. Johnston 
played th^ accompaniments on the piano The 
proceedings terminated with votes of thante. 



Th'INITY UNITED FREE CHURCH 



221 



the congregation in its Sabbath schools 
and in its manifold organisations and 
agencies. Reference would also be 

necessary to the men it has equipped 
and sent forth to service elsewhere, 
as, for instance, Rev. John Mennie, 
Methlick ; Rev. James Cameron, Glen- 
bervie ; Rev. Robert Urquhart, Oldmel- 
drum ; R«v. John Crombie, D.D., Canada; 
Rev. George Abel, Udny; Rev. J. M. 
Skinner, Old Deer ; and Rev. Robert 
Milne, of Kensington, London. In the 
mission field there are Rev. John Watt, 
Calcutta; Rev. John Watson, Anioy ; and 



Rev. Professor William Meston, B.I)., of 
the Madras Christian College. 

Trinity was the first Free Church in 
Aberdeen to introduce an organ for use in 
public worship. This was long before Car- 
negie organs had been heard of, and the 
" kist o' whistles" in Crown Street was 
naturally subjected to considerable criticism 
at the time. In other respects Trinity con- 
gregation has shown itself to be an en- 
lightened and progressive congregation, un- 
trammelled by the fetters of the past, and 
ever ready to recognise that " new occa- 
sions teach new duties." 



LIV. UNION UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




Union U.F. Church. 

Union Church has had the unique dis- 
tinction of being throughout its history a 
hidden and at the same time a prominent 
church. It has occupied an unfortunate 
and out-of-the-way site in Shiprow, yet, 
notwithstanding all the disadvantages of 
its situation, it has never been in danger 
of suffering from lack of public notice. 
Some of its ministers helped to give it pro- 
minence by their own strongly-marked 
characteristics ; while the conservatism of 
the congregation in regard to forms of 
worship gave it a distinctive place in the 
local ecclesiastical world. The Union 
Church and congregation have also at 
various times engaged the attention of the 
Presbytery, and this has likewise helped 
to concentrate on them a measure of public 
interest which might not otherwise have 
been apparent. 

The church was built in 1822 as a Chapel 
of Ease from the East Parish Church. It 
was a strong, substantial edifice, and it 
must have been originally of considerable 
size, as those who knew it in its early days 
often spoke of the crowded audiences that 
gathered within its walls, as many as 1400 
or 1500 being present. At that time the 
district was very different from what it i.s 
to-day. The Shiprow and neighbouring 
streets contained the residences of the Pro- 
vost, magistrates, and gentry of the city, 
and Union Chapel was not in the position 
of an east -end church. It is said, indeed, 
that there were then few churches west of 
Market Street. In 1834 Union Chapel was 



raised to the status of a quoad sacra church, 
and a district was assigned to it by the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen. In 1843, when 
the Disruption occurred, it was left by 
prcatically the entire congregation. Rev. 
John Allan, who was then minister of the 
congregation, adhered to the Free Church 
side, and after conducting the service on 
11th June. 1843, he requested that those 
who desired to follow him into the Free 
Church should meet on the following Sun- 
day in the Temperance Hall, George 
Street. Accordingly, on the following Sun- 
day, Mr. Allan preached in the Temperance 
Hall, where there was a very large attend- 
ance, while in the Union Church the 
audience was exceedingly small. From the 
Temperance Hall, Mr. Allan and his sup- 
porters went to the Secession Church in 
George Street (the forerunner of Carden 
Place Church), and there he preached for 
the next four Sundays by an arrangement 
with Rev. James Stirling and the office- 
bearers of that church. At the first term 
after the Disruption, only 25 sittings were 
taken in Union Church, and the hopeless- 
ness of the case soon became apparent. 
There was also a debt of £1300 on the 
building, and in view of all the circum- 
stances a deputation of five appeared before 
the Established Presbytery, urging that 
the congregation should be disbanded and 
the church sold. Ultimately this was 
agreed to, and Mr. Allan and his party 
very readily became the purchasers, pay- 
ing for the building the sum of £1795. 
Thus within seven weeks from the time 
they had left it, they were back again in 
their old sanctuary as the undisputed pro- 
prietors. The title deeds then prepared 
were framed in such a way as to retain the 
special clauses of the original document. 
The trustees were to be the office-bearers 
of Union Chapel for the time being, and it 
was stipulated that they hold the buildings 
" in trust for behoof of the congregation 
of said chapel, but it is especially provided 
and declared that the same shall, in no 
way, fall under the control of the General 
Assembly of the Free Church or Protesting 
Church of Scotland. or any other 
ecclesiastical court whatever, and the said 
Assembly shall have no concern with this 
trust." Safeguarded in this way. Union 
Church occupied a certain position of in- 



UNION UNITED FREE CHURCH 



223 



dependence, and the special provision in 
the title deed has played an important part 
in the subsequent history of the church. 

The first minister of the congregation 
was Rev. David Sim, A.M., who was 
ordained on 29th August, 1822. He was 
then an elderly man of 57, and had gained 
varied experience of life in other spheres. 
A graduate of King's College and Univer- 
sity, he became schoolmaster of 
Monquhitter, but afterwards went to Den- 
mark, and engaged successfully in farming. 
On returning, he was appointed master of 
Hilton Academy. His ministry of Union 
Chapel, which was entered upon at so late 
a stage in his life, was destined to be of 
very short duration. Ordained, as already 
mentioned, on 29th August, 1822, he held 
the charge for only four months, his death 
taking place on 3rd January, 1823. 

Rev. William Lyon, A.M., who succeeded 
Mr. Sim, was a son of Rev. James Lyon, 
of Glamis. He gained his degree at 
Marischal College and University, and was 
ordained on 7th August, 1823. His 
ministry was also comparatively brief, al- 
though li6 entered upon it with all the 
freshness of youth. After five years' ser- 
vice, he died on 4th July, 1828, at the early 
age of 30. He was buried underneath or 
beside the church, and his tombstone can 
still be seen in the hall near the spot where 
his remains are supposed to lie. Mr. Lyon 
was a man of fine gifts and graces, and 
in his funeral sermon, which was preached 
by Rev. David Simpson, of Trinity, he was 
described as being esteemed "for his 
fervent and unaffected piety, his lively and 
devoted zeal, and his warmth and kindness 
of heart." 

Rev. Joseph Thorburn, the third 
minister of the church, was the son of a 
grocer in Edinburgh, and a graduate of 
Edinburgh University. For six months ho 
acted as assistant to Rev. Dr. Grierson, of 
Cockpen, and then, on 19th February, 
1829, he was ordained as minister of Union 
Chui'ch. His ministry also was a brief one, 
although from a different cause. In 1831 
he was promoted to the parish of Forglen, 
and accepted the appointment On 29th 
August, 1831, the vacancy at Union Church 
was filled by the settlement of Rev. John 
Allan, who was destined to carry the con- 
gregation through a memorable period in 
its history. During his tenure of the 
charge the Disruption of 1843 took place, 
and, as we have already seen, he was 
largely instrumental in carrying almost the 
entire congregation along with him into 
the Free Church. Mr. Allan's ministry 
was fruitful of good results and successful 



in every way ; but, unfortunately for the 
congregation, it came to a close in 1847. 
He suffered from an affection of the voice, 
said to be largely the result of his prodigal 
use of it, and, as the trouble increased, he 
was compelled to retire from active duty. 
By this time he was in possession of inde- 
pendent means, and, on resigning his 
charge, he removed, first, to Potterton 
House, Belhelvie, and afterwards to his 
native district in Ayrshire, where he spent 
the rest of his life in quiet retirement. 
Mr. Allan was in his day a man of intel- 
lectual activity and eager spirit. Before 
coming to Aberdeen he had published in 
Kilmarnock a brief treatise on "The Guilt 
of Idleness under the Call to Gospel 
Activity." During his Aberdeen ministry 
he published in Aberdeen in lS'iJ an " Ex- 
posure of I'nitarianism and of Mr. 
Harris 1 '; and he subsequently published 
a volume of poems entitled "The Len- 
tiad : or Peter the Pope and his Pio- 
neers the Puseymen, together with Anti- 
Pen tateuchal Prelates, Broad Church, 
and Balaam Ass, Pommelled and Pounded 
with a Hudibrastic Cudgel : A Tale in 
Rhyme for the Times by a Beef-eater and 
Domestic Chaplain to Fish Pots." He 
hated Roman Catholicism, and in other 
productions of his pen he inveighed 
furiously against it. He died on 21st May, 
1885. 

Mr. Allan was succeeded by Mr. Black- 
wood, who had seen service in various 
spheres. After a short pastorate he had 
also to retire on account of failing health. 
The next minister— Rev. A. M. Bannatyne 
— was the first to enjoy a lengthened 
pastorate, and he left his mark more deeply 
on the Union congregation than any of his 
predecessors, while he also occupied in his 
own day a distinctive position among local 
ministers and in the public life of Aber- 
deen . 

Mr Bannatyne was in every way an out- 
standing man. "Even among the hand- 
some men of his time," it has been said, 
"he was conspicuous by the height of his 
figure, the nobility of his walk, and the 
grand proportions of his head, with its 
snow-white hair. Here were plainly attri- 
butes of no ordinary kind, and they were 
the index of the man. It was no unhappy 
inspiration that styled him the John Knox 
of Aberdeen, so uncompromising was he 
in all matters of principle." 

Sternly uncompromising when once he 
took up an attitude on any particular ques- 
tion, Mr. Bannatyne was ready to face any 
amount of opposition, and, if need be, to 
stand, like Athanasius of old, alone against 



22 I 



THE CHURCHES <>F ABERDEEN 



the world. He was conservative to the 
last degree. This was evident in his 
theological position, in his attitude towards 
all developments in the religious world - , 
and in his outlook on the Church and 
affaire generally. It was only to be ex- 
pected that he should influence his con- 
gregation, and Union Church readily re- 
sponded to his teaching, and became as 




Rev. A. M. Bannatyne. 

conservative as its minister. Thus the old 
practice was maintained of standing dur- 
ing prayer and sitting during the singing. 
Hymns, and even Paraphrases, were rigidly 
excluded from the service of praise, and 
afternoon services were continued long 
after these had been superseded by evening 
services in almost every other church in the 
city. 

Mr. Bannatyne was for a time the most- 
talked-of man in Aberdeen by reason of his 
memorable Presbytery speech in criticism 
of promiscuous dancing. He took up a 
position of strong opposition to the 
practice, and his description of dancing as 
"flings and springs and close-bosomed 
whirlings" was quoted and commented on 
all over the country. The speech and the 
occasion which called it forth are alike 
forgotten to-day, but Mr. Bannatyne's 
phrase is still familiar, and, if nothing else 
remained, it alone would serve to keep his 
memory green in the city. In the work 



of the Presbytery, Mr. Bannatyne took 
special delight. No man was more fully 
informed in all matters of Church law and 
procedure, and his brethren readily re- 
cognised his accurate and extensive know- 
ledge ; he came, in fact, to be known as 
the " Presbytery policeman," as he was al- 
most invariably called on to settle any dis- 
puted point of order. The trend of the 
times in the Church as well as in the world 
naturally occasioned considerable mis- 
giving to a man of the type of Mr. Banna- 
tyne, and it became evident that a crisis 
was approaching. The membership of 
Union Church had largely decreased — 
partly, no doubt, owing to the many re- 
movals to other districts, but also largely 
on account of the strict adherence to hours 
cf service and forms of worship which had 
become thoroughly antiquated. An im- 
portant alteration on the church build- 
ings took place during Mr. Bannatyne's 
ministry. Originally, a6 we have already 
seen, it was a very large building, but in 
course of time it was found that all the 
accommodation was not required. A 
scheme was. therefore, carried through 
whereby the large area under the gallery 
wa6 cut off, and practically a new church 
was formed out of the gallery. An out- 
side platform had to be erected to admit 
of access to this "elevated" church, and 
below this a hall was built. 

On 11th November, 1890, Mr. Ban- 
natyne made a long statement to the 
Presbytery of his personal position on 
matters of doctrine, Church govern- 
ment, etc.. on many of which he avowed 
that he felt out of touch with cur- 
rent opinion, and he intimated hib 
intention of resigning his pastorate at 
the end of the year. Touching testi- 
mony was borne by members of the Presby- 
tery to Mr. Bannatyne's unswerving 
fidelity to truth, his singleness of aim, 
and his high personal character, and 
regret was expressed at the prospect of 
losing so able and helpful a member of 
the Court. The proceedings on the occa- 
sion show how deeply and favourably Mr. 
Bannatyne had impressed his brethren, 
notwithstanding the fact that he had so 
often found himself in conflict with them. 
The resignation was duly carried into 
effect, and Mr. Bannatyne removed to 
Rothesay, where he lived in retirement, 
although afterwards conducting services 
for a time in one of the public halls of the 
town. His death took place at a good old 
age, and with him there passed away a 
minister who will not soon be forgotten in 



UNION U.F. CHURCH CLOSED. 

The union between, the Union and Bon Accord 
United Free Church congregations will be con- 
summated next Sunday, and the closing services 
which were held in the Union Church yesterday 
were conducted 'by Rev. Alexander Rodger, 
Edinburgh, a former minister of the congrega- 
tion. There were very large congregations at 
both services. In the evening Mr Rodger 
preached from the text Eph. ii., 10— "For we are 
His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto 
good works." After an eloquent sermon he said 
— "The last evening that I stood in this pulpit 
was to preach my farewell ssrmoa as minister 
of the Union congregation. At that time I 
little thought that I should so soon be asked to 
conduct tiie farewell service of the congregation 
itself. Time brings many changes, not only to 
individuals and families, but also to churches, 
and this is without doubt the greatest change 
that has taken place in the history of this oon- 
groga'tdon. Looking 'back over ttve sixty odd 
years of its congregational history, there is much 
to thank God for. Earnest and devoted men 
have proclaimed the Go&pel of Christ from this 
pulpit; faithful teachers have taugbt in the 
Sunday School ; tract distributors have spent 
their time ungrudgingly in visiting the homes 
of the people; and loyal members of the church, 
many of them out of their poverty, have given 
freely of their means towards the upkeep of the 
ordinances. Owing to altered conditions, the 
congregation does not possess the resources it 
once did, and all the more credit is due to those 
who stood by the church in this most 
trying of times. I can sympathise with 
the older members, as they contemplate leav- 
ing a building hallowed by so many tender as- 
sociations, but I say to them as I would say 
to all the members in Union Church that there 
need be no feeling of shame on your part — no 
feeling of shame on the part of those who have 
stood loyally and firm to the end, and no sense 
of defeat at this crisis. You have nothing to 
bo ashamed of. Tou have done your best to 
maintain the church as a separate organisation. 
and when that was no longer possible you did 
the next b«st thing in entering into friendly re- 
lations with another congregation of the same 
persuasion. I would urge you all to carry into 
tho union with Bon-Accord the same spirit of 
loyalty and love of Jesus Christ which has 
characterised you as a separate congregation. 
This audience will soon break up. Faces you 
were familiar with will soon fade from view ; 
associations, dear to some of you as life, will 
cease to exist, but remember thi6 that the God 
of associations, the God of grace, the God that 
has been with your fathers in this place of 
worship and has been with you is not dead. He 
is still alive, and' His promise is that He will 
be with you, that. He will not fail you. Thank 
God for that. Let us see to it then that we 
do not fail our God. May the union of the two 
churches be a blessing to both congregations, 
and also a blessing to the community at large. 
This is my earnest hope ; this is my fervent 
prayer. May God be with all those who used 
to worship in this place in whatever oonyrega^ 
tion they may be. May they manifest that 
unity of spirit that is the loyal manifestation of 
Christ. We are His workmanship, created in 
Christ Jesus unto good works." 

♦- 



TINION UNITED FREE CHURCH 



225 



Aberdeen, but many of whose sayings and 
doings will be told from one generation to 
another. 

The members of Union Church in a 
short time after Mr. Bannatyne's depar- 
ture called Rev. G. M'Murray Ros6, M.A., 
to be their minister. Mr. Ross was a 
son of Rev. Adam Ross, of Rattray, and 
after completing his course as a student 
he had acted for a time as assistant to 
Dr. Hood Wilson in the Barclay Church, 
Edinburgh. His ordination and induc- 
tion to Union Church took place on 23rd 
April, 1891. Mr. Ross was an earnest 
evangelical preacher, and he gained the 
esteem of the whole congregation. His 
ministry was mainly conspicuous by the 
gradual loosening in the congregation of 
the old ties of custom and the ushering in 
of a new regime. Hymns and paraphrases 
were introduced ; the congregation agreed 
to sit at prayer and stand at singing; 
evening services were begun and those in 
the afternoon discontinued, and in vari- 
ous other ways the members found them- 
selves getting into line with their fellow- 
worshippers in the city. In 1902 Mr. 
Ross accepted a call from St. Andrew'6 
Church, Dairy, and he was formally re- 
leased from his charge in Aberdeen. He 
preached his first sermon as minister of 
Union Church on 26th April, 1891, and 
his last on 27th April, 1902. 

For a time after Mr. Ross's departure, 
the existence of Union Church seemed to be 
in jeopardy. A number of members left — 
not, however, an unusual occurrence on the 
departure of a minister — and there were 
those who strongly urged the congregation 
to enter into union with another. Both 
the North and Commerce Street congrega- 
tions were at the time planning new move- 
ments, and pressure was brought to bear 
on the Union congregation to induce 
them to amalgamate with one or 
other of these congregations. The 
office-bearers, however, held out against 
any such proposal, and, fortified by the 
powers conferred upon them in the title 
deed, they gained their point. Some of 
those taking the leading part had held 
office for many years through various 
changes, among the oldest being Mr. 
Robert Tait, wholesale hardware merchant, 
the session clerk and deacons' court clerk ; 
Mr. Thomas Brown, shoemaker, and Mr. 
James Fyfe, sen., painter. The Presbytery 
consented to the continuance of Union as a 
separate congregation, although tem- 
porarily reducing its status from that of a 
regular sanctioned charge. About this 



time there had come under the notice of 
the office-bearers the name of Rev. Alex- 
ander Rodger, of Tarbolton, who at once 
expressed his willingness to champion the 
cause of Union Church. He had worked up 
an excellent congregation in Ayrshire, but 
was ready to take a second risk and forego 
his full status as a minister in the assured 
confidence that there would be a speedy 
improvement in the prospects. Having re- 
ceived a hearty invitation as the result of 
preaching in Aberdeen, Mr. Rodger gave 
up his charge at Tarbolton, and on 5th 
February, 1903, he was settled in Union 




Rev. Alexander Rodger. 

Church under the Ordained Preachers Act. 
Mr. Rodger was a man of considerable ex- 
perience of life. For a number of years he 
had followed a business career, and al- 
though he entered the ministerial calling at 
a later age than many of his brethren, he 
had the advantage, not to be lightly 
esteemed, of having a practical knowledge 
of the world. He had also the reputation 
of being a vigorous practical preacher and 
a capable organiser. In Union Church his 
influence soon began to tell. Progress be- 
came apparent in every department of 
work, and the congregation enjoyed the 
distinction of having its affairs discussed 
in the General Assembly. This was in 
connection with an appeal for its restora- 
tion to the status of a regular charge, with 
all the rights and privileges attaching 



226 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 




Rev. Thomas Havre. 

thereto. In course of the debate, cordial 
testimony was borne to the success of Mr. 
Rodger's work, and ultimately, on 28th 
May, 1904, the Supreme Court acceded to 
the prayer of the petition, and Union con- 
gregation regained its position in the de- 
nomination. Thereafter, its history was 
without incident until the spring of 1908, 
when Mr. Rodger was unanimously called 
to the pastorate of the Cairns Memorial 
Church, Edinburgh. Recognising in the 
call a summons to work for which his 
abilities and experience' seemed to specially 
fit him, Mr. Rodger intimated his accept- 
ance, and, in due course, was formally 
loosed from his charge in Aberdeen. 



The effect of this on the future of Union 
congregation was for a time uncertain, but 
it was recognised from the outset that it 
would mean the reopening of the whole 
question of the position and prospects of 
the church. Notwithstanding Mr. 
Rodger's effective work, it was seen that 
the district had been undergoing a steady 
change, and one not likely to be beneficial 
to the upbuilding of a strong congregation; 
while another important element was re- 
cognised in the probable absorption of the 
site of the church in a proposed scheme of 
city improvement. The whole question 
was under consideration, not only by the 
congregation itself, but also by the Presby- 
tery and by a deputation from the head- 
quarters of the Church. The suggestion 
having been made that I'nion congregation 
should start a new effort under the '" Man- 
i heater Scheme," and amalgamate with 
another city congregation, attention was 
directed to the probability of this being 
effected with, among others, Bon- Accord 
Church. After repeated and sometimes 
heated conferences between the Presbytery 
and the office-bearers and congregation, it 
was found that the feeling of the members 
was against amalgamation, and in favour 
of continuing the congregation as a re- 
gular charge. The desire of the congrega- 
tion was granted, but with the stipulation 
that no minister could be called, but a 
preacher appointed to take charge oi the 
church for a year. In March, 1909. Rev. 
Thomas Havre, of Maryculter (and for- 
merly of Glasgow"), took up the work, in 
response to a hearty invitation, and 
entered on the duties with earnestness and 
vigour. 



Union U.F. Church, Aberdeen 

In consequence of the resolution of the United 
Free Church General Assembly, to restore the 
position of the Union Church, Aberdeen, to the 
position of a full charge, it became necessary for 
the congregation to go through the iorm of giv- 
ing another call to their present minister, Rev. 
Alexander Rodger, if they wished to retain his 
services, te having been appointed when the 
civurcii was in the position of a- missionary charge, 
consequent upon the falling away of its mem- 
bership. It was open to the members, if they 
cared, to resolve to give a call to another mini- 
ster. Mr Rodger, however, has gained 1 the re- 
spect and esteem of his congregation in a marked 
degree, and tineer his brief ministry their num- 
bers have, been increased by abotrt 100. All that 
the congregation had to do last night, therefore, 
was to go through, the foim of giv- 
ing a call to Mr Rodger. Mr 
A. Murray Scott, moderator pro tem., pre- 
sided, and there Was a representative attend- 
i UN Mr Robert Tait proposed that, they giive 
a oall ro Rev. Alexander Rodger. Mr James 
Fyfc, *?n., seconded, arid the motion was unani- 
mously adopted. The. loliowing were then Ap- 
pointed to prosecute the call before the Presby- 
tery — Mvssrs John Leiper and ThomeS 
(elders) ; George Bisset and James Fyfc, sen. 
(deacons) : Robert Duguid and Wm. Cheyne (from 
the congregation). \/f/ 



Local Nautical Author, £v5- 

A oorr-x-pondent writes : — nfiL ' ™'ffj I 

"The Rev. Ernest Richards, of Midmar. at 
present doinjj service in the West U.F. Churoh, 
Aberdeen, is becorainj widely known as an rbie 
and acoomplMied writer of 6toriea connected 
wit i the sea and seafaring life. He baa had the 
beLeftt of real experience, and this enables him 
to give an intimate finishing touch to hoe pub- ; 
lashed works. 

' News reaches mo that in a library consist- 
ing of some 860 volumes housed at a baee camp 
in France, and compiled by the Rev. William 
Beveridge, M.A., New Deer, the first book 
aske-'l for was Mr Richards' popular work, 
entitled 'In a Deep Water Ship.' By his' 
literary gifts Mr Richards is tonus becoming 
widely known and appreciated both at home and 
abroad. Many works, I am sure, will be looked 
forward to from the 6ame author's graceful 
pen." 



LV— WEST UNITED FREE CHURCH. 




West U.F. Church. 

The history of this congregation as a 
separate body, although comparatively 
brief, has not been uneventful. The West 
is, of course, one of the Disruption 
churches, dating its existence from the 
stirring times of 1843, when Aberdeen had 
more than its own share of ecclesiastical 
turmoil. From 1836 the most influential 
minister in Aberdeen had been the Rev. 
Alexander Dyce Davidson, of the West 
Parish, and when he resolved to cast in his 
lot with Dr. Chalmers and his colleagues, 
it was not surprising that he had a large 
following in his congregation. Accord- 
ingly, when the decisive hour came, there 
was a big exodus from the West Parish 
Church, and those who comprised it were 
the founders of what is known to-day as 
the West United Free Church. 

The first difficulty confronting those who 
" came out " was to secure temporary 
accommodation for continuing the church 
services. After some negotiation, the 
homeless worshippers found a hospitable 
welcome in the Congregational Chapel, 
Blackfriars Street — the building now used 
as a gymnasium for Gordon's College. On 
the first Sunday in their temporary home, 



the congregation were without their 
minister. Mr. Davidson, with many of his 
brethren, had to answer a summons to the 
Court of Session for breach of interdict. 
In his absence one of the services was taken 
by Professor Black, of the Hebrew Chair 
in Marischal College — a quiet, quaint, and 
rather absent-minded man, who conformed 
to the old custom of wearing black mittens 
Lri the pulpit. He chose a remarkable text 
for- so great an occasion. There was a 
crowded congregation ; excitement ran 
high, and the enthusiasm was ready at any 
moment to break out, when the doctor 
calmly and deliberately announced his text 
as Jeremiah xiv., 22, ." Are there any 
among the vanities of the Gentiles that 
can cause rain?" What would one have 
given to have heard that sermon ! 

The congregation continued to meet in 
Blackfriars Chapel for eight months, but 
meanwhile the scheme for the erection of 
a new church was being pushed forward 
with all possible speed. The three leading 
churches — the West, East, and South — 
were erected on a common site at the 
corner of Belmont Street and Schoolhill. 
The design of the buildings — and especially 
of the brick spire, the graceful outlines of 
which have been so generally admired — 
attested the skill of Aberdeen's famous 
architect; the late Mr. Archibald Simpson. 
The West congregation occupied the build- 
ing now known as the High Church — the 
first service being held on January 
28th, 1844. Previous to that event, there 
Lad been a good deal accomplished in the 
organising and building up of the con- 
gregation since the first meeting of session, 
the minute of which bears the date of 12th 
June, 1843. Dr. Davidson's preaching 
power and personal influence steadily in- 
creased, and he gave to the West Church 
a commanding position in the community. 
In 1865, however, there came a check to 
the flow of prosperity and success. The 
congregation entered on a somewhat trying 
period, and, while it survived the ordeal, 
yet marks were left of the strain and stress 
to which it was subjected. The line of 
railway which was being constructed 
through the Denburn Valley in 1865 
threatened at one time to undermine the 
church buildings. Protracted negotiations 
took place between the railway company 

P2 



228 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



and the officials of the congregation, and 
ultimately the company purchased the 
church, and the congregation once more 
found itself without a home. 

On 26th November, 1865, the Free West 
people began to worship in the old Free 
Gilcomston Church, then in Huntly Street, 
taking their turn immediately after the 
Gilcomston congregation dispersed. After 
a few months of this arrangement, the 
large Music Hall was secured, and there 
the services were held until 1869. Then 
the trouble began. Though the old West 
Church building had passed out of the pos- 
session of the congregation, and though 
they had ceased to worship there, grave 
doubts existed in the minds of many as to 
the wisdom of the steps that had been 
taken. During the whole of 1866 serious 
friction was apparent in the congregation. 
The majority was in favour of a new and 
more commodious church farther west, but 
a compact and resolute minority held that 
the old church could be made perfectly 
safe, and that the congregation should re- 
sume worship there. Among the minority 
there were not a few prominent office- 
bearers, and earnest and devoted members, 
who had worked well for the church. 
Towards the end of 1866 the fateful step 
was taken. At a congregational meeting, 
and amid great excitement, the two pro- 
posals were put to the vote. Dr. David- 
son declared in favour of a new church, 
and the resolution to build, moved bv Mr. 
Robert Lumsden, manager of the North 
of Scotland Bank, was carried by a largo 
majority. The trouble did not end here, 
for the minority could not see their way 
to acquiesce, and a second disruption took 
place. The old church was again acquired 
for the minority fronvthe railway company, 
and became what has since been known as 
the High Church. The West congregation 
secured an excellent and commanding site 
in Union Street, at the corner of Bon- 
Accord Street, and on it the present very 
handsome edifice was erected. It forms a 
stately block, and internally the church is 
one of the finest in the city — in fact, it 
has been said by competent critics to supply 
in its interior one of the best examples of 
ecclesiastical architecture in Aberdeen. On 
14th February, 1869, the new church was 
opened. Dr. Davidson conducted the 
opening services both forenoon and after- 
noon, and the collections reached the sum 
of £615. During all these developments 
in the congregation, Dr. Davidson's in- 
fluence was supreme. It was well 
that during the stage of transition, and 



through the period of dissension, his strong 
personality dominated the congregation 
with its persuasive power. Although 
.spared to see the new church opened, and 
the congregation established in it, he did 
not live to see much of the fruit of the 
enterprise. He died on 27th April, 1872, 
little more than three years after the 
opening ceremony. Dr. Dyce Davidson 
was indeed a remarkable man. He had 
many outstanding qualities, and his 
memory is revered to this day. He 
was in very truth a "toon's bairn." 
He was a native of Aberdeen, and 
got his education in the city : his 
life work was accomplished here, and 




Rev. Dr. George Webster Thomson. 

at the last he was laid to rest in our St. 
Nicholas Churchyard. He was a man of 
unruffled sweetness of character and con- 
stant humility, a preacher of unquestioned 
ability and impressive power, and a min- 
ister of rare faithfulness and devotion. 

At Dr. Davidson's death the late Prin- 
cipal Lumsden was appointed moderator of 
the session, and after a short vacancy, the 
Rev. John Laidlaw, of the West Church, 
Perth, was elected to the pastorate. Dr. 



WEST UNITED FREE CHURCH 



229 



Laidlaw exercised a memorable ministry in 
Aberdeen. His power steadily grew until 
he commanded the finest audiences in the 
city. With no oratorical embellishment, 
and with no effort at popularising, he yet 
was able somehow to cast a spell over his 
hearers, and the West Church was crowded 
Sunday after Sunday. The freshness of 
his thought, the direct and beautiful sim- 
plicity of his style, his gift of luminous ex- 
position, and his deep spiritual insight gave 
his preaching a charm of its own. There 
was great regret in the city generally when 
Dr. Laidlaw left, in 1881, to take up the 
Professorship of Systematic Theology in 
the New College, Edinburgh. Dr. Laid- 
law was succeeded by Rev. Dr. George 
Webster Thomson. A native of Stanley, 
near Perth, and a student of Edinburgh 
University, Mr. Thomson left the New Col- 
lege, Edinburgh, with the highest distinc- 
tion of his year as Cunningham Fellow. He 
was at once offered the post of assistant to 
Dr. Candlish at Free St. George's, Edin- 
burgh. After a year in that position he 
was called to St. Brycedale Church, Kirk- 
caldy, and, after seven years' ministry 
there, he was called to St. George's, Glas- 
gow. From Glasgow he was translated to 
Aberdeen. Dr. Thomson had always been 
intimate with the foremost men in the 
Church, and it is interesting to note that 
to each of the three congregations he 
•served, he was introduced by ministers 
whose names are household words. Dr. 
Candlish introduced him at Kirkcaldy ; Dr. 
Buchanan at Glasgow ; and Dr. Alexander 
Whyte at Aberdeen. Of Dr. Thomson's 
ministry in the Free West much might 
be said. His wide culture, his de- 
votional spirit, his great sagacity, and 
his breadth of sympathy gained for him 
tlie respect and esteem of a wide con- 
stituency in addition to his own congrega- 
tion, and he became an acknowledged 
power in the local Church courts. In 1901 
Dr. Thomson asked for the assistance of a 
colleague and successor, and a call was 
given to the Rev. J. Esslemont Adams, 
E.D., of Dreghorn. Mr. Adams was 
settled in' October, 1901, and for over a 
year the two ministers worked together in 
the most perfect harmony, and with an 
ever-growing appreciation of each other's 
qualities. A rather alarming illness then 
prostrated Dr. Thomson for a time, and, 
acting under medical advice, he asked to 
be relieved of all active work. The request 
was regretfully agreed to, and Dr. Thom- 
son then removed to Edinburgh, where lie 
died in 1907. On Mr. Esslemont Adams 



the entire work of the jjastorate has since 
devolved, and he is manfully meeting the 
extra responsibilities rather unexpectedly 
thrown upon him. Mr. Adams had a very 
distinguished career as a student at Glas- 
gow, and in his first pastorate he was 
highly successful in every way. Since 
coming to Aberdeen he has also been doing 
excellent work. A man of scholarly attain- 
ments, and an eloquent preacher, he has 
likewise a decided faculty for organising 
and directing congregational effort. In his 
personal intercourse with the people he is 
unrestrained, genial, and kindly, and the 
congregation are responding to his in- 
fluence. 




Rev. J. Esslemont Adams, B.D. 

If the West has always been bk\ssed with 
excellent ministers, it has been no less 
fortunate in its leading laymen. One of 
the most influential men — perhaps the most 
influential— in its early days was Dr. 
Francis Edmond, who was the first session- 
clerk, rendering, both in that capacity and 
in many others, important service that can 
never be forgotten. In the earliest lists of 
the eldership there were names such a6 
those of Mr. David Mitchell, Mr. Neil 
Smith, jun. ; Sheriff Watson, Mr. Samuel 
Anderson, and Dr. Macrobin. Among 
others who at various times served the con- 
gregation in an official capacity may be 
mentioned Mr. Patrick Morgan (session- 
clerk for 25 years), Mr. William Mowat, 



280 



THE CHURCHES OF ABEHDEES 



Mr. Andrew Gibb, F.S.A., Mr. John Miller, 
Mr. Hugh R. Souper, and many others. 
In Dr. Davidson's time divinity students 
found their way to the West Church as 
naturally as to their classrooms, and in its 
earlier days the office-bearers included in 
their ranks such men as Professor John 
Fleming, Professor Smeaton, and Pro- 
fessor Sachs. 

The traditions are well maintained to- 
day. There is a band of capable and effi- 
cient office-bearers, whose support ought to 
encourage any minister. Many of them 
are men who are well-known in the com- 
munity. Professor Cameron, of the X'nited 
Free Church College, and Dr. George 
Smith, director of studies, are elders; and 
the session also includes well-known Chris- 
tian workers, such as Captain David Ross 
and Mr. Charles Shirrefrs, and public men 
such as ex-Baillie Lorimer and Councillor 
Barron. Ex-Lord Provost Sir Alexander 
Lyon has been a deacon for many years. 
Mr. D. R. McGilvray is the accurate and 
efficient session-clerk, and Mr. John F. 
Cruickshank, of Mile-End Public School, 
fills the post of convener of the Scat- 
Letting Committee. Mr. G. K. Fleming 
acted for a period of years as edi- 
tor of the "Record" Cover, a posi- 
tion for which, by his wide and intimate 
knowledge of the Church and its history, 
his warm interest in its affaire, and his 



literary aptitude, he was admirably quali- 
fied. He has now been succeeded by Mr. 
W. A. Cameron, solicitor. Mr. James 
Conner is clerk to the deacons' court, and 
the treasurers are Mr. James D. Mackie, 
Congregational ; Mr. J. D. M'Diarmid, 
Central Fund ; and Mr. David Easton, 
Foreign Missions. 

The congregation may not be to-day what 
it once was in point of numbers, but there 
are several obvious explanations. For one 
thing, the westward tendency of the city 
lias had an adverse influence, for, notwith- 
standing its name, the West is not now in 
a west-end situation, and it has suffered 
in consequence. The planting of new 
suburban congregations such as Queen's 
Cross and Beechgrove, particularly the 
former, meant a severe drain, and the diffi- 
culty is still present to-day. Yet, while 
the West has lost in numerical strength, 
it has been able to retain much of its 
vitality. 'If the condition of its Home 
Mission may be taken as a criterion— and 
it is generally a safe criterion of a congre- 
gation — then the West ha* an excellent 
record. Its mission work in the Green dis- 
trict, the operations of which are now cen- 
tralised in the finely-equipped premises in 
Correction Wynd, have been carried on 
with earnestness and vigour for many 
yeans, and never more successfully than 
now. 



Aberdeen United Free Church 
College. fi h T~ 

(Continued.) Xl///jA/t 

LECTURE HALL. 

(1) Painting 1 of the Rev. James Lumsden, 
D.D., Principal and Professor of Theology. Pre- 
vented by tie Free East congregation, in grate- 
'id acknowledgment of valuable services ren- 
dered by Dr Lumsdeii, one of their elders, 
iberdeen, 1874. Painted by George Reid, 
A.E.S.A. 

James Lumsden, who died unmarried, was a 
eon of James Lumsden, merchant, Dysart, Fife, 
and his wife Margaret Oswald (Aberdeen Death 
legisters). He studied with credit at St An-. 
Irews, and, in 1856, was ordained minister ol 
Barry. Having joined the Free Gfourch in 1843, 
ho continued in hie charge at Barry for the next 
Jiirteen years. He was appointed professor t 
Vberdeen. 13th August, 1S56 (Free Oburch Cal- 
endar). About 1865, on the occasion of a ihand- 
me gift toward the endowment of the Free 
'./'hurcth College in Aberdeen, he was appointed, 
ihe first Principal, and, in 1868, ho received the 
losree of D.D. from the University of St j 
\ndrew«. In local church extension he was | 
>:tremedy active, and took a leading part in 
he erection of the Free Church at FerryhiiL 
Te was a valuable member of tile Aberdeen 
School Board, and in all public movements he 
vq.3 ready to render aid and service. He was j 
i brother of Mr Robert Lumsden, Ferryhill ( 
House, manager. North of Scotland Bank, Ltd. ' 
'rofessor Lumsden died at 34 Bon- Accord Ter- j 
ace, Aberdeen, on Sunday, 17th October, 1875, 
aged 65, and was buried at Allenvale Cemetery, 
where a handsome monument surmounts his 
grave. The sermon he preached in the Free 
West Church, Aberdeen, en 5th May, 1872, being 
the Sunday after the funeral of the Rev. Alex- ' 
ander Dyce Davidson, D.D., late minister of 
that church, and entitled ' The Place wliich 
Temporal Death Has in the Economy of Grace," 
was published by request of the office-bearers of 
the congregation by Messrs David Wyillie and 
Son, Abaideen, and others, in 1872. The 
" Daily Free Press," October 18, 1875, oontaine 
a len^tihy obituary of Dr Lumsden. 



THE LATE MR THOMAS OGILVIE. 

Ii has been determined to erect in the vestibule 
o>f the U.F. College. Aberdeen, a tablet with a] 
felief portrait in bronze do Mr Ogilvie's memory. 
A memorial has been designed bv Mr William' 
Kelly, aremteot, and the figure win be n-ode'Ied 
by Mr William Banbury, of the Soriool of Art. ' 
Tine inscription will be as follows: — 
Thomas Qgirrie 
18W. of Keppiestone, 1913 

A benefactor to this College, a strength to the 
Church in her hour of need, a lover of the 
Kingdom of Christ, a generous citizen, a loyal 
friend. 
This memorial was placed he-re by friends ' 
who knew and loved him. 
It is expected that the memorial ,-wi 11 be un- 
veiled I about tb» New Year,, and subscriptions 
may b^sent to fen- John Fleming, with whom the 
id^a of the memorial largely- originated. 



Mr. John F. Knowles, M.A. 

Mi;. Kkowles was the first man from the Aberdeen Hall 
to join His Majesty's Forces, the first too from amongst 
us to fall on the held of battle. It was during those 
early days of the war that he left us, when enthusiasm 
was running high, but even then there was no gladness 
in his going. His was a quiet soul, for which the tumults 
of war held no fascination. Yet he went because he 
believed that there his duty lay, and in going he had 
the satisfaction of a noble duty nobly done. That deed 
was the most characteristic of all his life. He loved 
quietness, and he found a great contentment in the calm 
preparation for the work of the ministry ; but when duty 
called it called supremely, and "John" rose up and 
left all, and followed on. 

He was one of the men whom God makes staunch and 
steady that they may be a strength unto others. That 
was how we thought of him ; and it is there that we 
miss him so much. 



•*<•-£' 
* 



W; 



f/r 




J. F. Knowles. 



*-/x-y^/3 




Principal Lumsden. By Sir George licid, LL. D. 



LVI— ABERDEEN UNITED FREE CHURCH COLLEGE. 




Aberdeen United Free Church College. 

The question of providing a theological 
training for its students at Aberdeen was 
before the Free Church of Scotland from 
the days of the Disruption onwards. The 
General Assembly of May, 1843. declared 
that it was " desirable that there should 
not be less than three separate Theological 
Colleges." Tlie Aberdeen Presbytery had 
the matter under consideration as early 
as 8th August, 1843. The situation then 
existing in the city regarding the theo- 
logical education of the students of the 
Church was. the practical outcome of the 
events of the Disruption itself. Dr Black, 
who had been Professor of Divinity in 
Marisehal College, had "come out" with 
the Free Church party, and on him there 
naturally devolved the care of the students 
belonging to the new body. In October, 
1843, the Committee for College matters 
reported that Dr. Black had been 'appointed 
a Professor of Divinity, with Aberdeen for 
the sphere of his labours. The Presby- 
tery, however, urged that a further step 
should be taken, and an efficient theolo- 



gical institution established in Aberdeen. 
Some of the reasons advanced in support 
of this overture are worthy of being 
quoted. It was stated, for instance, that 
"there is a larger number of young men 
who study at Aberdeen of the class who 
generally become ministers than at any 
other University seat," and that " some of 
the most pious and promising of these who 
might be able to live and obtain a theo- 
logical education in Aberdeen could 
neither afford to do so in Edinburgh, nor 
would solicit' nor accept aid from the 
Home Mksion." But perhaps the most 
striking argument adduced in favour of 
the Presbytery's contention was that 
"great evils would be experienced iii the 
north from the removal of students of 
divinity to Edinburgh for six months 
during the session of College, inasmuch as 
tutorships in families, with the superin- 
tendence of the education of the young 
attending grammar schools and colleges, 
would fall into the hands of students of 
divinity adhering to the Establishment, 
whereby an extensive influence highly 
detrimental to the Free Church would no 
doubt be exercised in the minds of the 
young." 

In the meantime, Dr Black was teaching 
Hebrew, both junior and senior, and Rev. 
James Bryce, of Gilcomston Church, had 
agreed to give a course of lectures on 
Church History. This arrangement con- 
tinued until the autumn of 1844, when Dr 
Black left for Edinburgh. The Presby- 
tery, with the concurrence of the General 
Assembly, resolved to maintain the pro- 
vision for the students at Aberdeen, and 
Rev. Alexander Dyce Davidson, of the 
West Church, was appointed to teach 
Systematic Theology and to carry on the 
work in association with Mr Bryce. On 
24th December, 1844, the classes were 
opened for the new session in the Free 
South Church session-house, which the 
Presbytery had selected as the mast suit- 
able place of meeting for the time being. 
At the same time, Professor Bentley 
undertook to give the students the neces- 
sary instruction in Hebrew at the request 
of a Special Committee of the Presbytery. 

Tn 1845 Rev. James Maclagan, minister 
at Kinfauns, was appointed Professor at 
Aberdeen) and in 1846 Mr Marcus Sachs 
became Hebrew Tutor. At the opening of 



232 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



the session of 1846, the classes were re- 
moved to rooms which had been secured 
in the Mechanics' Institute in Market 
Street. All this time there had been kept 
steadily in view the desirability of erect- 
ing suitable College buildings, and the 
Presbytery cherished the idea of uniting 
in the scheme a proposal for securing a 
Presbytery Hall. In 1849, a site was 
selected, and its commanding position at 
tbe junction of Union Street, Holburn 
Street, and Alford Place at once appealed 
to all those interested in the matter as 




Principal Iverach. 

perhaps the most desirable to be found in 
the city. The original cost of the build- 
ings was £2025, and provision was made 
for five class-rooms, a large hall used both 
in connection with the College and the 
meetings of Synod, a large room for Pres- 
bytery meetings, a retiring room for the 
professors, and gymnasium, etc. Con- 
spicuous amongst those who were instru- 
mental in securing the erection of the 
College were Mr Francis Edmond, advo- 
cate (whose generosity was not confined to 
that particular period), Mr Alexander 
Gibb, C.E., and Mr William Henderson, 
architect. 

The important undertaking, however, 



was not completed without an element of 
opposition having been aroused in some 
quarters of the Church. The Aberdeen 
College would, indeed, appear to have 
been a bone of contention in certain Free 
Church circles from the very first. The 
controversy — of which there has been 
evidence more than once in recent years — 
began before the College was founded ; 
but, as often as it was raised, it was 
strenuously met and triumphantly over- 
come by the loyal Churchmen of Aberdeen 
and the north. After the General 
Assembly had given its formal sanction to 
the establishment of a fully-equipped 
theological institution at Aberdeen, it was 
only by persistent local pressure, and to 
a large extent by local enterprise and 
generosity, that the scheme was actually 
carried to completion. Even the erection 
of the College buildings was not un- 
attended by opposition and oontrox 
The committee of the Edinburgh College 
pronounced a censure on the Aberdeen 
Presbytery for sanctioning the erection of 
the College buildings, and even went the 
length of publishing the censure in the 
"Witness," an Edinburgh newspaper, and 
in the "Banner," an Aberdeen newspaper. 
This action was, as might have been ex- 
pected, strongly resented by the Aberdeen 
Presbytery. Not only was a rigorous pro- 
test made against what was considered to 
be a proceeding invasive of their rights, 
but the Presbytery immediately proceeded 
to prepare an overture to the Assembly 
urging the fulfilment of promises already 
made to " increase the means of theological 
education in the said institution of tbe 
Free Church of Scotland in Aberdeen." 
The appeal may not have been immedi- 
ately successful, because, owing to the 
inadequacy of the course provided at Aber- 
deen, the Aberdeen students were for a 
time required to attend a session or two 
at Edinburgh; but. by earnest persistence, 
the northern Presbytery in due time 
gained what had been contended for. The 
arguments adduced were always strength- 
ened and enforced by the reiteration of the 
(act that the Assembly had. time and 
again, given its approval and sanction to 
the establishment of a thoroughly equipped 
Divinity Hall at Aberdeen. On this fact 
the Aberdeen Presbytery founded its case 
— to this important admission the atten- 
tion of the Assembly and the Church was 
repeatedly called ; and. by such means. 
together with large-hearted local genero- 
sity and unwearying energy, the day was 
gained. 



/T. /toAAz/n-fo* sst'TH . y¥ ^„£ ^ y^-^y^,^ /Zt 






* 



We regret to announce the death of tie Rev. 
Professor George G. Cameron, of the Chair of 
Old Testament Languages, Literature, and 
Theology in the Aberdeen United Free Charon 
College, which took place to-day in an Aberdeen 
nursing home. 

Towards the end of December bet it was 
announced that Professor Cameron was to ie- 
sign the chair, and since then the Presbyteries 
and Synods throughout Scotland have been 
making nominatione to the Assembly for t*« 
chair. 

Dr Cameron was ordained to the ministry in 
1871, and appointed to his chair in 1882, bo that 
he had given long service to the Church, 

Deceased was a son of the late Mr John 
Cameron, farmer, Rosehill, Pluecarden, n«>ar 
Elgin. He was born on 13th September, 1836, 
and received his early education at Plusoarden 
School and Elgin Academy. He entered King's 
College as seventh bursac in 1856, and gradsuated 
in 1360 wibfc- £«.fc-claa8 classical honours. He 
was a member of the last class at King's Col- 
lege before the fusion of the colleges. He 
| studied theology in the F.C. College, Aberdeen, 
1860-2, and at the New College, Edinburgh, 
1865-5. During 1862-3 he acted as tutor in 
France and Germany, and studied the languages 
of those countries. At the close of his theologi- 
cal curriculum in Edinburgh he gained a Cun- 
ningham Fellowship, but could not hold it, as 
part of the curriculum had been taken in Aber- 
deen. 

Dr Cameron was licensed by the F.C. Pres- 
bytery of Elgin in 1665, and in 1865-6 he was 
assistant to the Rev. Dr Stewart, Leghorn, and 
studied Italian. In 1866-7 he was assistant in 
the Free St David's, Dundee; in 1869-70 locum 
tenens for Professor Sadhs in the Hebrew Chair 
at the F.C. College, Aberdeen; in 1870-1 assist- 
ant, Free St Andrew's, Edinburgh; Regent 
Square, London, and Free North, Lehh. In 
1871 he was ordained colleague minister of St 
John's, Glasgow (Dr Chalmers's church) ; and 
in 1880 sole minister of the charge. In 1882 
he was elected Professor of Hebrew in the 
Free Church College, Aberdeen, in succession 
to Professor Robertson Smith, who was de- 
posed. Professor Cameron in 1890 had the hon- 
orary D.D. degree conferred on him by Aber- 
deen University. 

rftoS as/ </jfr->~~.*4 t**^/*- 



ABERDEEN UNITED EHEE CHURCH COLLEGE 



2m 



The College buildings already described 
were formally opened on 5th November, 
1850. The Presbytery met as usual at 
Trinity Church, where accommodation had 
been given to the Court for several years, 
and, after transacting part of the busi- 
ness, adjourned to the College, where the 
sederunt was continued. At the same 
time, Professor Maclagan gave his intro- 
ductory lecture, by which the new session 
of the Divinity Hall was inaugurated. 
Rev. John Longmuir, of Mariners' Church, 
as Moderator of Presbytery, presided, and 
conducted a special service, which pre- 
ceded Professor Maclagan's introductory 
lecture. 

In 1852, a sum of £2000 having been 
provided to permit of the establishment 
of a new Professorship at Aberdeen, Rev. 
Patrick Fairbairn of Salton was appointed 
to assist Dr Maclagan during session 1852- 
53. Before the session opened, the death 
of Dr Maclagan occurred. Dr Thomas 
M'Crie was asked to undertake, along with 
Mr Fairbairn, the duties of interim Pro- 
fessor. At the Assembly of 1853, Mr Fair- 
bairn was appointed ordinary Professor, 
and at the August Commission of Assembly 
Rev. George Smeaton, of Auchterarder, 
was nominated Assistant Professor. An 
additional sum of £4000 having been 
offered towards the salary of a second 
Professor, Mr Smeaton was appointed to 
the office by the Assembly of 1854. Another 
forward .step was taken in the following 
year. It was resolved, in terms of the 
Barrier Act, that the Aberdeen College 
should be regarded as providing a com- 
plete curriculum of theological study on a 
third Professor being appointed ; and the 
Hebrew tutor, Mr Marcus Sachs, was ap- 
pointed Professor of Oriental Languages 
and Old Testament Exegesis. 

During the next few years there were 
various changes in the Professorships. In 
1856, Dr Fairbairn was appointed to a 
Chair in the Glasgow College, o'f which he 
subsequently became Principal. He was 
succeeded at Aberdeen by Rev. James 
Lumsden, of Barry, who afterwards 
became the first Principal of the College. 
In 1857, Professor Smeaton was elected to 
a Chair in the New College, Edinburgh, 
and his place at Aberdeen was filled by 
the appointment of Dr David Brown, of 
Glasgow. More money was forthcoming 
in 1864, when a sum of £1000 was offered as 
an endowment for the office of Principal ■ 
and on 28th May in that year Mr Lumsden 
was appointed to the newly-constituted 
post. In his day, Principal Lumsden was 



a man of commanding influence in the 
community. He took a prominent posi- 
tion in the Presbytery, his only rival being 
Dr John Adam, of the Free South Church. 
One of his students now risen to eminence, 
Sir William Robertson Nicoll, LL.D., has 
spoken of his personality and gifts in terms 
of warm appreciation. "He had," wrote 
Sir William some years ago, " the eye of a 
statesman, and provided for the develop- 
ment of the Church. What gave him his 
great influence was, however, the burning 
passion of religion which was behind his 
theology. The reverence, the humility, 
the awe of his opening prayers can never 
be forgotten while memory lasts." 




Professor Cameron. 

On a vacancy occurring in the Chair of 

Oriental Languages and Old Testament 
Exegesis by the lamented death of that 
accomplished scholar, Professor Sachs, the 
General Assembly of 1870 appointed to the 
post Mr William Robertson Smith, M.A., 
probationer. This was an event which, as 
the subsequent course of history revealed, 
was fraught with great significance; and 
the Aberdeen College thus entered on what 
was perhaps the most interesting period in 
its history. 

Mr Robertson Smith was ordained by 
the Aberdeen Presbytery on 2nd November 
in the same year. In that year also he 
began his contributions on Biblical sub- 
jects to the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," 
some of which eventually led to the famous 
heresy hunt which absorbed the attention 



234 



THE CHURCHES OF ABERDEEN 



of the Church and of the whole theological 
world. The long, and at times bitter, dis- 
putation attracted very wide attention. 
The Robertson Smith case marks an epoch 
in the Church. How the controversy 
ended all the world knows. The case was 
debated repeatedly and at great length in 
the Church Courts, and although the Pro- 
fessor defended himself with marvellous 
ability and consummate skill, the decision 
went against him, and he was removed 
from his Chair by the Assembly of 1881. 
It is unnecessary to say how that decision 
has been regarded by the Church in the 
light of more recent developments and in 
view of the progress of theological 
thought. Of all the distinguished names 
associated with the Aberdeen College — and 
there have been not a few, both as teachers 
and students — the name of Professor 
Robertson Smith has perhaps become the 
most widely famous throughout the world ; 
and his connection with the institution is 
one of the facts in its history which is 
never likely to be forgotten. It is signi- 
ficant — and it is also most fitting — that a 
fine portrait of Dr Robertson Smith pre- 
sented by subscription now adorns the hall 
of the College from which he was at one 
time deposed. 

Soon after the appointment of Professor 
Robertson Smith to the Hebrew Chair in 
1870, two extra class-rooms were added to 
the College, at a cost of £300, largely as 
the result of the bequests by Mr Alexander 
Thomson of Banchory, and partly for the 
accommodation of the Library, also gifted 
by Mr Thomson. In 1872 a property in 
Alford Place immediately opposite the 
College Buildings was acquired at a price 
of £700, and adapted for the purposes of a 
Library and Museum at a farther cost of 
£600. These sums were also provided 
from the Thomson Bequest, which has 
figured so prominently in the list of gener- 
ous benefactions to the College. Mr 
Thomson was warmly interested in the 
origin and welfare of the College, and his 
bequests in money alone were over £14,000 
— an important declaration in his settle- 
ment being to the effect that, if the Aber- 
deen College ever ceases to be recognised 
as in itself affording a complete curri- 
culum for the study of divinity qualifying 
students for the ministry, his bequest.-- to 
the College shall fall to the University of 
Aberdeen. This clause has already played 
an important part in the controversy con- 
cerning the Aberdeen College. 

A fourth Chair was instituted in the 
College by the Assembly of 1875, the sum 



of £10,000 having been subscribed for this 
purpose mainly by the liberality of Mr. 
George Thompson of Pitmedden. The out- 
come of this movement was that Dr. 
Binnie, Professor in the Refor